Approaching Council Elections 2018
As the term of the Council draws to an end in October 2018, the Office of the Registrar is gearing up for Council Elections 2018, with nominations opening in the last week of March 2018. As a result, there may be a number of questions as to what being a Council Member entails, what the functions of Council are, how Council works, and what it requires to be a Council Member.
What happens if you are approached to be nominated for Council or if the MEC of your province nominates you to serve as one of the nine members of Council appointed by the Minister? What if the university where you lecture nominates you as one of the academic pharmacists on Council? Why, if at all, should you accept such a nomination?
What is Council?
The South African Pharmacy Council (Council) is statutory health council created by Parliament to provide for the standards in pharmacy education and training, the requirements for registration, the practice of pharmacy, the ownership of pharmacies and the investigative and disciplinary powers of the council and to provide for matters connected therewith. The Council is self-funding.
Vision and Mission of Council
The vision of Council is “sustainable quality pharmaceutical services for all people in South Africa”, and in doing such, to serve the public interest. In terms of its statutory obligations, the Council strives for the development and optimal utilisation of pharmaceutical services and pharmacists’ expertise as essential elements of an effective, comprehensive health service in South Africa.
Council exists to:
- protect the public by improving health outcomes
- assist in promoting access to sustainable quality pharmacy services by embracing the use of innovation and technology
- ensure quality pharmaceutical services by developing, enhancing and upholding universally acceptable education and practice standards through stakeholder engagement
- promote the dignity of the profession through professional ethics and conduct, and ongoing competence
Objects of Council
In terms of the Pharmacy Act, 53 of 1974, Council has the following objectives:
- to assist in the promotion of the health of the population of the Republic;
- to advise the Minister or any other person on any matter relating to pharmacy;
- to promote the provision of pharmaceutical care which complies with universal norms and values, in both the public and private sector, with the goal of achieving definite therapeutic outcomes for the health and quality of life of a patient;
- to uphold and safeguard the rights of the general public to universally acceptable standards of pharmacy practice in both the public and private sector;
- to establish, develop, maintain and control universally acceptable standards:
in pharmaceutical education and training;
for the registration of a person who provides one or more or all of the services which form part of the scope of practice of the category in which such person is registered;
of practice of the various categories of persons required to be registered in terms of this Act;
of professional conduct required of persons to be registered in terms of this Act; and
of control of persons registered in terms of this Act by investigating in accordance with this Act complaints or accusations relating to the conduct of registered persons.
- to be transparent to the profession and the general public, in achieving its objectives, performing its functions, and executing its powers;
- to maintain and enhance the dignity of the pharmacy profession and the integrity of persons practising that profession;
- to co-ordinate the activities of Council and its committees, give guidance to the Office of the Registrar, and provide oversight on risk management and financial controls;
- to improve internal efficiency and effectiveness through improved customer care relations and service delivery, and investigation of alternative sources of funds; and
- to build a pipeline of highly skilled workers to meet the Council’s mandate through training, implementation of performance management and retention of key personnel.
What does Council do?
The primary goal of a statutory health council such as the South African Pharmacy Council is to assist in the promotion of the health of the population of South Africa. This is achieved, mainly in the fields of registration, education, practice and professional conduct.
Registration and recording
By law, Council maintains a register of pharmacists and pharmacy support personnel who are competent to practice, to ensure the safety of the public. Only pharmacists and pharmacy support personnel who are on the register may practise. In this regard, the Council, therefore, has two duties to discharge, namely:
- to ensure that practitioners admitted to the register are competent; and
- to remove those practitioners who are unfit to practise.
The maintenance of a register is also to the advantage of those whose names appear on it, since this confers public recognition on the competent practitioner who will thus be able to command a reward for his/her service.
The Council further holds a register of all the pharmacies that are recorded as being licensed or deemed to be licensed. In this regard, the Council ensures that the facilities from where pharmaceutical care is provided meet the standards as established in terms of Good Pharmacy Practice.
The Council is responsible for the establishment, development, maintenance and control of minimum standards of education and training, the inspection of training facilities, the conducting of certain examinations, and the recognition of qualifications for registration of persons qualifying both in South Africa and in other countries.
Control of practice
The Council also has a role to play in the establishment, development, maintenance and control of standards of professional practice, as well as the monitoring of the standard of practice in the country.
Control of professional conduct
The duties of Council with regard to professional conduct are discharged according to strict legal principles following complaints lodged against registered persons. The need for impartiality is self-evident and implies the observance of legal requirements, as well as of the rights of all parties concerned.
Advice to Minister
In addition, Council plays an advisory role to the Minister of Health on matters that fall within its scope, and also communicates relevant information which may come to its attention to the Minister.
In conclusion, if you are approached to be nominated for Council election/appointment, or want to be a member of Council, it is advised that you engage with current or past Council members for information and insight on the role and workings Council.