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80% drop in EEA pharmacist registrations 'potentially' due to Brexit

An 82% fall in European pharmacists registering in Great Britain may have been caused by Brexit, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has speculated.

The number of European Economic Area (EEA) pharmacists registering in the UK dropped from 166 in April-June 2016, to just 30 in the same period this year, according to a report published for the GPhC's council meeting earlier this month (September 7).

The fall "potentially reflects the impact of Brexit and our new English language requirements", the GPhC said in its report.

The overall number of pharmacist registrations also experienced a drop – of 61% – between April-June 2016 and the same period last year, according to figures in the GPhC report.

In an exclusive interview with C+D last week (September 11), GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said the regulator is “not concerned” about the European figures, as “it's not for us to be worried or pleased” about the number of EEA registrations.

The GPhC does not have a role in “workforce planning”, he explained.

The drop “could be” due to Brexit, he continued, but the GPhC has not researched the issue. The regulator “might” look into it, but understanding the cause is “not necessarily a high priority”.

There could be a “whole range of factors” at play in this “very complicated” issue, he said, including employment prospects in Great Britain, as well as events in EEA pharmacists' home countries.

The GPhC's new English language requirements came into force in December last year. They require pharmacy professionals who qualified in EEA countries to provide evidence they have the “requisite English skills to practise safely in Great Britain”.

What do you think caused the drop in EEA pharmacist registrations?

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