Out with ‘inspectors’, in with compliance, monitoring and training officers
The name ‘inspector’ is often associated with a person employed or appointed to check or document whether people are obeying official regulations. In the context of persons appointed in terms of Section 4(v) of the Pharmacy Act, 53 of 1974, to conduct inspections, an officer does more than monitor compliance with regulations and practice standards. Officers of the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) are appointed to ensure compliance with the Pharmacy Act, Regulations as well as Good Pharmacy Practice Standards, but most importantly, their role becomes more meaningful when they positively affect and guide pharmacies and responsible pharmacists to operate in a manner consistent with upholding the dignity of pharmacy profession. From the beginning of 2018, Council has decided to adopt the following titles for officials appointed to conduct inspections:
- ‘Monitoring / Training Officers’ when conducting monitoring and training inspections; and
- ‘Compliance Officers’ for the purpose of conducting disciplinary inspections
Grading of pharmacies
Council introduced a grading system in 2013 where all inspection reports are captured on a centralised system and analysed annually. Although there is a gradual improvement on the outcomes of inspections, Council is of the opinion that more can be achieved if the approach for inspections is changed towards inspectors being providers of information, who enable and assist pharmacies to improve compliance and move towards Grade A ratings.
With these initiatives, Council aim at ensuring that there is an enabling environment for pharmacy professionals whilst maintaining patient safety and quality healthcare.
Council views Monitoring / Training Officers as important links between the Office of the Registrar and the practising profession, and believes that an empowering inspection official can assist the pharmacist develop and achieve Good Pharmacy Practice.
A schedule of pharmacies that are due for inspection and inspection questionnaires for 2018 are available, and will be published on the website under the Practice page. These will be pharmacies that achieved Grade A in 2015, Grade B in 2016 and Grade C in 2017. The list of Council’s Monitoring/Training Officers will also be accessible on the same link. It is important to note that the inspection will not necessarily be on the same month as the previous inspection.
Additional inspections will be performed where a pharmacy has changed ownership or had relocated.
Templates of inspection questionnaires are available on the Practice page of the SAPC website and may be used by pharmacists as a self-assessment instruments to prepare for the inspection. Pharmacies due for inspection in 2018 are encouraged to look forward to this wonderful experience.
All pharmacies that have achieved a Grade C in 2017 will be invoiced early in 2018 as per Council resolution.