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The GPhC exam protest as it happened

C+D joined a group of trainee pharmacists who gathered outside the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) headquarters in Canary Wharf, east London, to protest over the most recent exam issues. Catch up with all the coverage below.

How did we get here?

 

The “majority” of the circa 2,700 candidates who sat the exam last month faced no issues, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) wrote in previous statements.

But the GPhC estimates around 240 candidates were affected by delays at different exam sites.

Besides delays and IT issues, trainees also flagged concerns around cheating, inappropriate exam environments and the toll the exam had taken on their mental health.

Since June 29, the GPhC has published several statements detailing how it was planning to remedy  the issues, including confirming provisional registration as an option for some eligible candidates who were affected by a delay of 30 minutes or more before being able to sit one of both exam papers.

The GPhC is also “considering” issues flagged by candidates who had concerns with how their sitting was managed and is also carrying out investigations into the problems fed back by candidates, it said last week.

 

What is happening today?

 

Exactly two weeks after the June 29 registration sitting, trainee pharmacists will today (July 13) take part in a “peaceful” protest outside the GPhC office in Canary Wharf, east London, demanding action in three key areas.

Pharmacist and tutor Marvin Munzu – who organised the protest – along with a delegation of four trainees will first meet the GPhC’s CEO Duncan Rudkin and director of education Mark Voce at 10.15am, according to an agenda shared with trainees and confirmed to C+D by the GPhC.

The meeting will give trainees an opportunity to share their experiences directly with Mr Rudkin and Mr Voce, Mr Munzu explained.

From 11am, Mr Munzu will then kick start the protest, which will see trainees unite to put forward three key requests, which Mr Munzu listed during a webinar in preparation of the protest on Monday night (July 11).

These are:

  1. “For any trainee who fails the June 29 sitting, the sitting should not count towards their total number of failed attempts.

     

  2. “Issues raised by trainees other than ‘severe delays’ which affected their performance should be accepted as grounds of appeal if the results of the investigations confirm these issues.

     

  3. “Trainees should only repeat the specific paper they failed for the June exam.”

 

“This is the basis of our protest,” Mr Munzu said during the webinar.

“We want to get the GPhC to accept our three requests, so it’s important that you know what these are, so that we’re all united for the protest,” he added.

He reminded all those who are planning to attend to behave professionally at all times.

“No form of violence will be tolerated. It is a peaceful demonstration; it is going to be a respectful demonstration. We need to respect the public. We have to respect the GPhC premises,” he said.

The protest is scheduled to end at 1pm.

 

Join C+D on Instagram Live throughout the day to hear from attendees at the protest.

 

See C+D's tweets from the event below.

 

 

13:55: Thank you for joining us

That concludes C+D's coverage of the registration assessment protest today. Thank you all very much for joining us – stay tuned for further updates and interviews with trainees over the coming days.

 

13:45: "Feeling positive" – catch up with C+D's interview with Marvin Munzu after the protest

 

13:40: "Peaceful protest in the interest of fairness and justice"

 

13:33: "A monumental and peaceful protest" 


13:24: "We are competent trainee pharmacists"

 

13:20: Protest reaction

Thorrun Govind, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English pharmacy board chair tweets her support of today's protest

 

13:18: "We have hope, don't give up"

"The GPhC genuinely seems to want to help the trainees", Marvin Munzu says

 

13:15: Marvin Munzu speaks to C+D

"We had a great meeting with Duncan," Marvin Munzu tells C+D. Follow our interview live over on Instagram

 

13:05: "We protest for fairness and equality"

"We protest for fairness and equality. We are not fighting against the GPhC, we are fighting for fairness," Marvin Munzu tells protestors

 

13:02: "Our issues count too"

 

12:52: Protest in photos

12:47: Marvin Munzu expected to address crowd again 

 

12:43: "We will make a change" 

 

12:30: Trainee experiences

More trainees have come forward to share their experiences of the exam:

 

12:20: RPS urges GPhC to arrange early resit and offers extended associate membership

Commenting on the issues experienced by trainees in a statement published yesterday, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Claire Anderson said, the RPS remains “deeply concerned about the situation” and “urges the GPhC to offer a resit opportunity for candidates well before November 2022”.

 

“This would be fair to all and limits the impact on candidates’ progression to full registration,” she added.

 

The RPS is also calling on the GPhC “to liaise with the Home Office to ensure that any affected candidates working under a visa are fully supported with their continued right to work”, she said.  

 

“We’re fully aware of the additional supervisory burden provisional registration will place on pharmacy teams already under considerable stress. We’re also concerned by the precedent this may set for future sittings. We therefore also call for the GPhC to issue clear criteria for the future use of provisional registration in such circumstances, so that candidates and employers have clarity.”

 

The GPhC must also “publish the findings of the independent review in full, including a robust mitigation plan to minimise the impact of any future issues”, she added.

 

“This must include the provision of paper copies of the assessment to all centres and the development of a spare set of assessment papers for use in emergency situations,” she said.

 

To support candidates, the RPS will be offering all those who do not pass the June assessment, or who chose to abandon their attempt on the day, an extension of their associate membership until December 2022, at no additional cost. It will also be issuing a new Ontrack 30 day free trial for those who would find additional revision support helpful.

 

 

12:04: Protest in pictures – the three key requests 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12:00: Trainees' exam experiences

 

11: 54: Watch Marvin Munzu's speech in full

 

11:52: Meeting lasted for over an hour 

Here's what we know about the meeting held between GPhC and pharmacist and tutor Marvin Munzu so far:

 

11:49: "I left everything behind..."

 

11:45:  Protest in action 

 

11:40: Protest in pictures 

11:39: Protestors have three requests 

 

11:38: "Today is the day we speak up" 

"I’ve never seen so many trainees complain about a calculations paper as this year," Marvin Munzu says. He receives a large applause after he announces "today is the day we speak up". Tune in to our Instagram Live to follow the protest here

 

11:32: Follow the protest live 

 

11:26: "This will go down in history"

 

11:21: Join us live from the protest 

The protest is underway! Join our Instagram Live from GPhC HQ 

 

11:19: Reporting from GPhC HQ

 

11:15: Exam experience

As new reports of mishaps occurring at the GPhC’s registration assessment continue to emerge daily, earlier this month, C+D spoke with trainee pharmacists about their experiences sitting the exam. Read their testimonies here.


11:10: Protest delayed

The meeting between the GPhC and pharmacist and tutor Marvin Munzu – who organised the protest – along with a delegation of four trainees has overrun. The protest is expected to begin shortly.

 

11:00: Welcome to our live blog

Good morning and welcome to our live blog, following the GPhC protest as it happens. We'll keep you updated as the day goes on - stick with us for up-to-the-minute coverage, analysis and reaction. 

 

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