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General Pharmaceutical Council

EU pharmacists will need to demonstrate grasp of English to work in the UK, British pharmacy regulator says

Pharmacists who qualified in the EU and want to practice in Great Britain will in future have to provide evidence of their knowledge of the English language before joining the professional register, according to draft guidance agreed by the pharmacy regulator

The changes, which were approved by the GPhC at its council meeting on 8 September 2016, will apply to all EU pharmacists and those who qualified in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. 

In the past, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) had no authority to check the language skills of a qualified European pharmacist who wanted to practice in Great Britain before they joined the professional register — only non-EEA nationals who qualified outside the EEA needed to undergo a preregistration English language skills check. 

The move also means that European pharmacists will potentially face a fitness to practice hearing if they demonstrate poor English language skills, which could threaten safe and effective pharmacy practice.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201691

Readers' comments (1)

  • Given what we're currently negotiating with our European cousins, isn't this a bit of a moot point? All pharmacists wishing to join the register will have to have a grasp of English post EU (subject to said negotiations, of course...!)

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