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Pre-regs flag lack of training and time with tutors ahead of GPhC exam

This week’s assessment – held across March 17-18 – will be the first online registration exam.
This week’s assessment – held across March 17-18 – will be the first online registration exam.

Pharmacist Support has seen a spike in calls from pre-registration pharmacists due to concerns over lack of training and exam preparation time with tutors, the charity has told C+D

Pharmacist Support chief executive Danielle Hunt confirmed to C+D that the organisation has seen an increase in contact from pre-regs reaching out for advice in the lead up to this week’s registration assessment.

“On average, around one third of all enquiries that come into the charity annually are from trainees and this usually peaks around assessment/results time,” she said.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) announced in March last year that it had decided to postpone the 2020 registration assessment due to COVID-19. This week’s assessment – held across March 17 and 18 – will be the first online registration exam and the first time provisionally registered pharmacists will be sitting.

Despite the GPhC facing criticism for its handling of the assessment process, Pharmacist Support has not experienced an increase in enquiries from prov-regs, it told C+D.

Ms Hunt said this could be down to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society helpline that has helped pick up and deal with concerns.

“We are pleased to see so many organisations working together to ensure candidates are effectively directed to relevant information in these difficult times,” Ms Hunt said.

Pharmacist Support has set up an area on its website dedicated to assessment candidates, which includes “useful resources and services to help manage exam stress and anxiety, and links to further information and guidance”, she explained.

The charity is now working with the British Pharmaceuical Students’ Association (BPSA) to administer travel grants for individuals sitting the March 2021 registration exam over 50 miles away from their home.

Pharmacist Support has agreed to facilitate and issue this grant fund, separate from their regular financial assistance service, that will be allocated on a first come basis.

“We’re delighted to be administering a registration assessment travel fund, which has been established by the BPSA. Grants of up to £200 have been made available to help candidates cover any unplanned travel, accommodation, and childcare costs,” Ms Hunt added.

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