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Registration assessment

Pre-registration assessment to be delayed until first quarter of 2021, regulator confirms

The General Pharmaceutical Council has confirmed that the delayed 2020 pre-registration assessment will take place in the first three months of 2021.

Students taking exam

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The General Pharmaceutical Council said it would be “avoiding the first two weeks of January” for the pre-registration assessment

The delayed 2020 pre-registration assessment will be held in the first quarter of 2021, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has confirmed.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called the continued delay “very disappointing”.

The regulator said it would be “avoiding the first two weeks of January” for the assessment, although the exact date is yet to be confirmed.

“This is the earliest feasible time to hold the assessment, as we need to carry out extensive testing to make sure that the online registration assessment will work well for all candidates,” the regulator said, in a letter sent out on 30 September 2020 to provisional registrants.

“This includes testing the provider’s systems for verifying identity, invigilating the sitting and providing adjustments to candidates.”

The GPhC said it would now work with “the supplier” to identify an exact date for the next registration assessment and the detailed arrangements for the sitting, including how and when to start the application process, adjustment arrangements and the assessment specification.

Gail Fleming, director of education at the RPS, said it was “very disappointing” that the GPhC was “still unable” to provide trainees with a definite date for the delayed assessment.

“We understand how difficult this is for those affected and will continue to support them as best we can,” she said.

“At least we now know that the assessment will take place in the first quarter of 2021 and will not take place in the first two weeks of January, but we urge the GPhC to act quickly to set an exact date to provide certainty to those who will be sitting the exam.

“In addition, information about the format of the assessment, including resources and the arrangements for reasonable adjustments, is urgently needed to alleviate the ongoing concerns of many trainees.”

Fleming said the RPS was aware of the “extremely challenging circumstances” that trainees were finding themselves in, with many being unable to secure employment as provisional registrants, leading to financial hardship; or, in the case of overseas trainees, visas running out before they are able to sit the exam.

“We need to look after our future professional workforce and these issues must be addressed. Regular, transparent and detailed communication is essential, and we would ask the GPhC to provide more frequent updates. However, we also need to see more practical support made available.”

The GPhC said it would provide more information in its October 2020 update.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208413

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