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UK regulators postpone pre-reg exams over COVID-19 pandemic

The GPhC and the PSNI have decided to postpone all of this year’s registration assessments following the outbreak of COVID-19.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) registration assessments could be rescheduled for “the end of this year or early in 2021”, the regulators said in a joint statement published today (March 26).

The GPhC’s registration assessments normally take place in June and September, while the PSNI’s take place in June and October.

However, having consulted different representatives including “student and trainee representative bodies, universities, [and] employers”, the regulators acknowledged the “significant pressures that pre-registration trainees are currently working under”.

These pressures will have a “major impact” on trainees’ ability to prepare for the registration exams, they said in the joint statement.

Responding to the pandemic

“We also recognised that more pharmacists will be needed to help respond to the pandemic and deliver care to patients and the public in the coming months, and that pre-registration trainees are expecting to be able to register and work as pharmacists from August,” the GPhC and PSNI added.

The regulators are now exploring the option of granting a “form of provisional registration for current pre-registration trainees”, they said.

“We are carefully considering what options will be in the best interests of pre-registration trainees, pharmacy services and the general public, whilst protecting patient safety,” they added.

Questions on the potential options, how they would work in practice and what support would be in place for trainees" with be answered as soon an possible once the regulators work with their partners "on the approach [they] are taking".

Do you welcome the GPhC's and PSNI's decision?

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