What you need to know for revalidation

Registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians need to go through the GPhC revalidation process on an annual basis, but as it’s been a few years since we’ve had to do the full GPhC revalidation, here’s a brief reminder of what is needed. 

Why do we need to revalidate?

The GPhC have stated that revalidation helps us to:

  • keep our professional skills and knowledge up to date
  • reflect on how we may improve
  • show the GPhC, and thus the public, how we provide safe and effective care that meets the needs of our patients and / or service users.
What does the GPhC expect of us?

The GPhC requires all registered pharmacy professionals to show evidence of their development on an annual basis. The annual revalidation submission has the following requirements:

  • Four CPD entries, two of which must be planned learning activities
  • One peer discussion
  • One reflective account

All revalidation entries have to be submitted through the GPhC online portal as paper entries are no longer accepted. If you think you may have exceptional circumstances that require this, you may find it helpful to contact the GPhC for guidance.

CPD entries

Learning through CPD can either be planned or unplanned. Unplanned learning involves anything that is not pre-planned. For example, this may involve coincidental learning from coming across a drug you know very little about. Planned CPD involves identifying a learning or development need and then carrying out that learning activity. This can be any learning that is relevant to your work, but you may find it helpful to plan the learning by creating a SMART goal:

Specific: Your learning goal should be specific as this can lead to more effective learning. For example, if you are a new foundation training supervisor your goal might be to understand a specific part of the training, such as ePortfolio, rather than learning about foundation training in general.

Measurable: What evidence will you use to prove that you’ve met your learning goal? How will you know when you have achieved your goal? For example, you might have a certificate of completion or have the results of a quiz or test. You might be able to describe what you have learnt to a colleague or you might be able to do the task you’ve set out to learn about.

Attainable: It should be possible for you to achieve the learning goal within the time frame you have set for yourself. It is possible to have long term goals that take longer than the revalidation time frame, as long as you submit the required CPDs each year.

Relevant: Your learning goal should be aligned to your role. This is especially important as the GPhC requires you to provide an example of how you have used your learning to benefit your service users.

Time based: Set yourself a realistic but personally challenging deadline by when you will have achieved your goal.

Peer discussion

This is a learning and development activity that encourages you to engage with others who may be in similar roles to yourself, or if you are a senior leader then someone at a similar level of seniority to yourself (your peer doesn’t have to be a pharmacy professional but they do need to understand your practice).

Peer discussions can be by any means of communication that work for both of you, such as video calls, telephone or face-to-face, and should be with someone you trust and respect so that you can be open and honest with each other.

If you are a lone worker or the only one in your specialty in your organisation, then peer discussions are a great way to connect and form your own network for professional support. If you don’t have a peer in mind, you could always post on one of the UKCPA online forums to see if there might be someone suitable out there for you.

Discussion with your peer may be on many topics but should focus on your practice. The GPhC provides suggested topics that you may wish to consider (see below), but whatever you discuss, you should reflect afterwards on how this discussion has changed your practice for the benefit of your service users.

Suggested topics for discussion

  • The learning you have been doing or intend to do this year, particularly the learning you have applied in practice
  • Any successes or challenges you have been having this year and how this is impacting on the people who use your services
  • Incidents, events, complaints, and compliments that you have received this year, paying particular attention to what changes you made to your practice in response to this feedback and the impact on people using your services
  • The GPhC’s standards for pharmacy professionals to help identify examples where you feel you have met or exceeded the standards for the benefit of the people using your services
  • Quality improvement activities that you have undertaken and how they have benefited the people using your service users.
Reflective account

The reflective account encourages us to think about how we meet the GPhC Standards for pharmacy professionals through our work. The revalidation notice you receive will lay out which standards the GPhC would like you to focus on. You can then choose which of these three standards you would like to reflect on.

You can reflect on more than one or all three if you wish to do so. As revalidation is on an annual basis, the reflective account should be of an example from within the last 12 months. The GPhC would particularly like us to reflect on (but it is not essential) how we use equality, diversity and inclusion in our practice, so this could be a potential topic to consider.

Reflective writing can be challenging so you may find it helpful to follow a structure when reflecting. Asking yourself questions can help – see our examples below. Others may find it useful to use a reflective model such as those developed by Gibbs or Rolfe et al.

Example reflective questions:

  • What happened? Describe the situation or event in detail.
  • Why did it happen that way?
  • Could you have done anything differently?
  • Why is this event / incident / issue important for your practice?
  • What seem to be the root causes of the issue addressed?
  • What have you learnt from this event / incident / issue? How can you apply this learning?
  • What would you like to learn more about, related to this project or issue?
  • What follow-up is needed to address any challenges or difficulties?
  • What information can you share with your peers or the community?
  • How have your career options been expanded by this event / incident / issue?
What if you can’t submit on time?

Revalidation submission deadlines are provided by the GPhC. If you are unable to submit on time, contact the GPhC as soon as possible for guidance (there is an option to do this through myGPhC). The GPhC also have procedures for periods of non-practice such as parental leave or prolonged illness, and have further guidance on this topic on their website. Good luck!

Useful resources

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the UKCPA or its members. We encourage readers to follow links and references to primary research papers and guidance.


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