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Wide variation in pre-reg pass rates, reveals GPhC

Pharmacy discipline, location and ethnicity were all factors in registration exam pass rates, the pharmacy regulator's annual report has shown

Pre-reg exam pass rates varied widely according to pharmacy discipline, location and ethnicity last year, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has revealed.

Nearly a quarter of trainees in England failed their first registration exam last June compared to less than one in 10 in Scotland and Wales, the GPhC announced in its annual report, published on Thursday (July 3).

There was similar disparity between community and hospital pharmacy trainees, with 24 per cent of community trainees failing first time as opposed to 9 per cent of hospital trainees, the analysis of last year's June exam sitting found.

Pass rates also varied widely between different ethnic groups, data from more than 100 people suggested. Ninety three per cent of white British trainees who gave their ethnicity data passed first time compared to 55 per cent of black African trainees.

The GPhC pledged to investigate the reasons for the differences in pass rates and "take action if necessary".

The differences appeared to mirror the GPhC's data on satisfaction with pre-reg placements, gathered from 905 pre-registration trainees who completed the 2012-13 training year. Sixty one per cent in England rated their educational supervision as good or excellent, compared to 71 per cent in Wales and 82 per cent in Scotland, revealed the data, published last month.

Hospital pharmacists reported being more satisfied with their training, with 83 per cent of respondents rating their training experience as "good" compared to just 74 per cent of community pharmacy counterparts.

After the survey was released, the GPhC pledged to investigate discrepancies in pre-reg training quality between different regions and sectors.

In February, the GPhC said its guidance for pre-reg tutors was only the first step in tackling poor quality training.


First attempt pass rates

Scotland 93%

England 78%

Hospital 91%

Community 76%

Source: GPhC annual report 2013-14

Have you seen evidence of variation in exam passes among your pre-regs?

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