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GPhC grants one registration exam protest demand, is considering others

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has granted one of several requests put forward by trainees who sat June’s chaotic registration assessment, and is still considering whether it will grant the rest.

In an email sent yesterday evening (July 20) to candidates who sat the exam on June 29, the GPhC agreed on a 12-month extension to the eight-year limit on sitting and passing the registration exam “for all candidates who experienced delays or disruption”.

The regulator agreed to do so after hearing from candidates who are “at or nearing this eight-year point and […] anxious about what happens if they are not successful at the June sitting”, it wrote.


Read more: 'People’s lives have been affected': Trainees on the impact of GPhC exam chaos


Under normal circumstances, pharmacist trainees must complete their MPharm degree, foundation training and pass the registration assessment within eight years.

It comes after trainees protesting the exam last week (July 14) went to the regulator with a raft of requests including lowering the pass mark for the calculations paper after candidates claimed it did not reflect the framework shared with them.


Read more: The GPhC exam protest as it happened


In addition, protesters asked for:


  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.”


A GPhC spokesperson told C+D today it is “considering all the requests put forward to [it] by the protest delegation”.

Some candidates faced delays in starting their exam, while others have complained of technical issues at test centres and claimed that some candidates cheated.


Which candidates can appeal their results?


The regulator also addressed protesters’ demand that candidates who experienced serious exam issues other than delays should also be eligible for provisional registration in yesterday’s email.

The regulator confirmed earlier this month (July 8) that provisional registration would be granted to candidates who had experienced "procedural issues" including delays to starting their papers.

Those who experienced “major disruption or significant technical issues”, such as “screens repeatedly freezing or glitching […] can appeal on the basis that they experienced a procedural error”, it clarified.


Read more: IT issues, cheating and uninformed invigilators: pharmacist trainees detail GPhC exam chaos


These candidates will be eligible for provisional registration if their appeal is upheld and they will be fully refunded the cost of the exam.

This sitting will not count as one of candidates three attempts if the appeal is upheld, the GPhC added.


Listening session next week


The GPhC once again apologised for the difficulties candidates faced sitting the exam, stressing that its “top priority [is] to understand fully what happened”.

“Your feedback is really helping us to build a full picture of what happened at the June sitting and what actions we should take in response,” it wrote to candidates.


Read more: GPhC exam chaos: Chair gives 'really big sorry' and affected trainees offered full refund


The regulator is also “urgently” considering how “to reduce the risks of candidates sitting in November experiencing any significant issues”, it said.

It will be holding an online listening session on July 26, where candidates can describe their experiences to council members and chief executive Duncan Rudkin and ask question on what actions the GPhC is taking.



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