Factors associated with severity of sanctions among pharmacy professionals facing disciplinary proceedings
Background The outcome of disciplinary proceedings against a pharmacy professional can strongly impact their career. The severity of outcomes at tribunal is often attributed to specific factors outside the control of the practitioner, including area of practice and level of experience; as well as to personal choices, including attendance at the hearing and the presence of a legal representative. Objective To determine which of these factors are associated with removal from the professional register at General Pharmaceutical Council's (GPhC) disciplinary hearings. Methods Pearson's Χ2 or Fisher's exact tests were carried out for associations between all variable pairs identified in 127 case determinations published by the GPhC between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2019. Relative risk calculations were applied to compare the likelihood of an event occurring between two groups. Results Personal characteristics are unrelated to seriousness of regulatory outcomes in these cases. The composition of the panel is unrelated to the outcome. Engagement with the regulatory process (attendance and legal representation) is strongly associated with less severe sanctions. Conclusions The data demonstrates that failing to engage with the fitness to practise process virtually invites removal from the Register.