GPhC confirms which exam candidates will be offered provisional registration
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has outlined the eligibility criteria for those trainee pharmacists who will be offered provisional registration following the exam “issues” on June 29.
Provisional registration will be offered to those candidates who faced exam delays and those who successfully appeal their results due to other “procedural issues”, the GPhC confirmed this afternoon (July 8).
Expanding on this, the GPhC said candidates who had to wait 30 minutes or more to sit one or both their registration assessment papers on June 29 “will be eligible for provisional registration if they meet the other eligibility criteria set out in the policy”.
“A delay of 30 minutes or more is unacceptable and amounts to a procedural error in the conduct of the assessment,” the regulator said of its decision.
However, this will only apply to candidates “who have not previously failed the assessment”, it stressed.
The GPhC will also offer provisional registration to candidates whose appeal of their results is upheld, “after it is determined that the issues they experienced during the sitting amount to procedural error in the conduct of the assessment”.
It advised “candidates who believe their performance may have been significantly affected by a procedural issue relating to how the assessment was held, such as significant technical problems or other major disruption during the sitting, to appeal” if they do not pass the June 2022 sitting.
The GPhC will identify eligible candidates using “data showing what time a candidate started each paper” and will contact them via email by July 13, “to explain how they can apply for provisional registration if they are eligible”, it said.
Candidates must have “successfully completed 52 weeks pre-registration or foundation training and received a final declaration from their tutor that they have met all performance standards or learning outcomes” to qualify for provisional registration.
They also cannot “be subject to fitness-to-practise proceedings”.
Individuals granted provisional registration “must sit the registration assessment at the first available opportunity on which they are fit to do so” and must pass it to join the main pharmacist register, the GPhC wrote.
Candidates who do not pass the registration assessment in such instances “will not be eligible to remain on the register provisionally” and will have to “sit and pass the registration assessment at a future date in order to return to the register”, it added.
The GPhC said it will fully refund the exam fee – £182 – to candidates granted provisional registration under the criteria. The June 2022 sitting will also “not count as one of [candidates'] three attempts”.
GPhC “extremely dissatisfied”
GPhC chair Gisela Abbam “sincerely apologise[d]” on behalf of the regulator to candidates who met problems during their sitting.
“We know our apology cannot undo the significant emotional upset and worry that has been caused,” she said.
Ms Abbam said the GPhC was “extremely dissatisfied with the way the assessment was delivered” and “urgently investigating with BTL what went wrong through a serious incident review”.
The regulator will therefore consider what action to take, “so that there is due accountability”, she said.
As part of the investigation, the GPhC is also “considering” issues flagged by candidates who had concerns with how their sitting was managed, Ms Abbam added.
Council “urgently reviewing” November sitting
In addition to its investigation into the June exam, the GPhC is also “urgently review[ing] arrangements for the November sitting”, Ms Abbam said.
The regulator aims to “quickly decide how that sitting should be held”, while reducing the risk of such issues reoccurring and at the same time delivering a “robust assessment that upholds the confidence of the public and the profession”.
Further to that, the regulator intends to arrange “online listening sessions” – dates to be announced soon – so that candidates can give feedback on the exam to council members and hear what the GPhC is doing in response.
The regulator will also “bring in external consultants to do an audit of the registration assessment processes and the contract with BTL to determine what went wrong and how can they be improved”, and establish a council committee on quality and performance assurance – chaired by GPhC council member Rima Makarem.