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Boots, Well and Lloydspharmacy prov-regs to get paid study leave

Provisionally registered pharmacists employed by Boots*, Well and Lloydspharmacy will benefit from paid study leave to prepare for the GPhC exam, the multiples have told C+D.

There are 27 prov-regs working across Well pharmacies, and they will be given five days of paid leave at their normal hourly rate – “which includes the day of exam and two full length mock exams”, Well people development manager Jessica Hall told C+D on Tuesday (January 19).

A Lloydspharmacy spokesperson told C+D that the multiple currently employs 140 prov-regs, who will be given “two days of paid study leave” at their current rate to prepare for the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) assessment.

A Boots spokesperson told C+D yesterday (January 20) that more than 200 prov-regs currently work at Boots. They are being supported “to make the right decision for them” on when to sit the registration exam, “based on their individual circumstances”, the spokesperson added.

They later* added that Boots has committed to providing all prov-regs with paid study leave days since they joined the company last summer.

“This paid study leave is in addition to the paid foundation programme study days with Boots 'healthcare academy trainers' and their peers to further support their development and learning,” the spokesperson said.

The GPhC registration exams will go ahead as planned on March 17-18, despite calls from candidates and pharmacy professionals to scrap the assessment or reschedule it following the announcement of a third lockdown in England.

“Flexible with annual leave”

Prov-regs employed by Well can also take “up to four weeks annual leave prior to the assessment and up to two weeks unpaid leave, if they do not have sufficient annual leave”, Ms Hall added.

“We are committed to giving our provisional registrants every opportunity to succeed and pass. It is in the long-term interest of both of us that they feel fully supported, ready and able to sit the exam,” Ms Hall said.

Well is “working closely with our registrants” to understand if they feel ready for the GPhC exam, knowing that the “employment contract as a provisional registrant covers them until July 1”, according to Ms Hall.

A Lloydspharmacy spokesperson said the multiple is also “flexible with annual leave to ensure [candidates] have sufficient time to prepare”.

Lloydspharmacy will “continue to be steered by the GPhC and afford our pharmacy colleagues any flexibility allowed by them”, the spokesperson added.

PDA: Employers should “act reasonably”

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) pointed out last week (January 14) that the GPhC made it clear to employers last year that they need to provide study time to candidates prior to the registration assessment.

The PDA called on employers to be flexible towards prov-regs’ necessities, after it claimed it received reports from provisionally registered members who said their previously agreed study leave had been cancelled by their employer.

Other prov-regs reported to the PDA that their contracts have a clause requiring them to sit the registration exam at the earliest opportunity, which the PDA said employers should waive.

PDA director of defence services Mark Pitt said: “The PDA urges employers to be flexible, act reasonably and behave responsibly towards prov-regs to empower them to make decisions about the upcoming assessment that are personally right for them.”

*This article was updated on January 22 to include details on Boots' paid study leave, which had not reached C+D at the time of publication.


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