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Competence Reviews


Competence Review is a function of the HPCA Act 2003. It is an educative and enabling process, whereby an independent review of individual pharmacists who come to the attention of the Council as potentially practising below the required level of competence is conducted by a Competence Review team (CRT). This is not a disciplinary process, but aims to enable a pharmacist to improve their practice and remain in the pharmacy workforce. The results of the review enable the Council to determine what "gaps" there may be in a pharmacist's practice, and direct the pharmacist to further education, assessment, counselling or mentoring. These reviews are only set in place if the Council believes a pharmacist may pose a risk of harm to the public by practising below the required standard of competence.

What happens to me if Council determines I need to undergo a Competence Review?

Competence Reviews and Programmes are not disciplinary in nature. A review assesses your competence, and is therefore evaluative and educational in nature. The Pharmacy Council acknowledges that you will feel anxious about a competence review and the review team will be as supportive as possible. A Competence Review provides the Pharmacy Council with an understanding of your practice. It also provides an opportunity for you to comment on the Council's concern about your practise of pharmacy.

As part of the Competence Review process a Practice Counsellor may be appointed by the Pharmacy Council, pending the review taking place. The Practice Counsellor will oversee your practice, provide you with support, monitor and report to the Pharmacy Council on your performance in the pharmacist scope of practice.

A Competence Review Team will be appointed consisting of pharmacists who are clinically competent, have good interpersonal skills, and have some knowledge of performance and educational assessment relevant to the scope of your practice. They will be told about the areas for review and Terms of Reference will be provided. You will be told of these Terms of Reference and the activities used to assess your competence. These activities may include reviewing written work, files, and interviews with you, as well as commonly accepted assessment tools.

The Review will include an on-site assessment to observe you in your practice site to ensure that your practise of pharmacy is carried out at a competent level. You may have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to practise at a high level, but may be limited by your environment. It is therefore important to review your performance within your own practice site.

There are six domains of competence and each domain describes a broad role of pharmacy practice. The standards in each domain are a written description of the skills, knowledge and attitudes a pharmacist practising in the pharmacist scope of practice must demonstrate to be competent. The review assesses your practice against all standards and thus clearly identifies which standards form part of your work practice. This assessment will establish:
  • Where you are at in your practice?
  • Where are the gaps?
  • What needs to be done about bridging the gaps identified?
  • The Review Team will write a report to Council. If gaps in your practice are identified you may be required to undertake a competence programme, one or more conditions may be included on your scope of practice or you may be counselled or assisted in your practice
  • Competence programmes can include undertaking courses, examinations, supervision or assessments.  conditions on your practice can include requiring you to practise in association with another pharmacist, work uner supervision, have restrictions on the activities you can perform, and others
  • The costs of undertaking the review and any practice counsellor requirements prior to the review are met by the Council but if a pharmacist is found to be not practising at the competent level any costs of a competence programme or conditions of supervision or any other requirements must be met by the pharmacist
  • The Council makes all decisions in a fair and consistent manner and you will have an opportunity to make submissions to the Council before the review is set, as well as comment on the pharmacists who are appointed to carry out the review.  You will also have an opportunity to make comments on any proposed competence programme or conditions made as the result of your review.