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GPhC: Provisionally registered pharmacists ‘may operate’ as RPs

Pre-regs who meet the criteria to provisionally join the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register “may operate as responsible pharmacists”, the regulator has said.

  • Pre-regs who pass certain criteria to provisionally join the register can operate as the responsible pharmacist, although they must practise under the guidance of a senior pharmacist
  • They will not be able to locum or work as superintendents or chief pharmacists
  • To remain on the register, provisionally registered pharmacists must sit the registration exam, which will be held online as soon as is possible

Provisionally registered pharmacists will not be allowed to work as locums, superintendent pharmacists or chief pharmacists, the GPhC said in a policy paper it published yesterday (May 21).

The policy sets out the criteria for provisionally registering this year’s pre-registration pharmacist trainees. Pre-reg trainees can apply to join the GPhC register from July 2020 until July next year, with the first cohort provisionally joining the register from August 2020.

In order to remain on the register, provisionally registered pharmacists must sit and pass the registration assessment “at the first opportunity if they are fit to do so”.

They will have to take the registration exam – which is “expected to be held online” – “as soon as is practicable”, the regulator said. However, they will be given a minimum of two-months’ notice to prepare for the assessment, it added.

The GPhC said last month (March 27) that it had decided to allow trainees who meet “certain criteria” to provisionally join the GPhC register. The regulator announced in March its decision to postpone the 2020 registration exams due to COVID-19.

Criteria for registration

The GPhC said it is “considering how to manage the cost of the process fairly and proportionately” and will inform the pre-regs “about the fees for this application”.

To provisionally join the register, they must meet some criteria, such as having “successfully completed 52 weeks pre-registration training in 2020” and not having previously failed the GPhC registration exam.

Trainees must also self-declare that “they are fit to practise as a pharmacist” and must get a “final declaration” from their tutor to confirm they have met all 76 performance standards and that they are not subject to current fitness-to-practise proceedings.

Employers will be responsible for carrying out a risk assessment before the provisionally registered pharmacists begin work. The regulator said it will share some standards for employers defining how these pharmacists will be allowed to operate.

“Provisionally registered persons must practise only under the guidance and direction of a senior pharmacist,” the GPhC said in its policy.

A “set of principles”

Commenting on the provisional registration policy, GPhC CEO Duncan Rudkin said that the GPhC’s decision has been “guided by a set of principles, including maintaining standards for entry to the register to protect patient safety and quality of care, and the importance of maintaining the workforce pipeline so that pharmacy can continue to serve the needs of patients”.

“We will continue to engage with stakeholders as we put this policy into practice, both to help inform our thinking on any particular points where we need to clarify the policy further,” he added.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society director for education Gail Fleming said the organisation welcomes the “clarity about what provisional registration looks like”. The RPS will support provisional registrants with “a range of products and services including mentoring, online revision courses and mock exams”, she added.

What do you make of the GPhC policy?

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