First online pharmacy registration assessment takes place

 

A total of 2670 candidates have sat the GPhC’s first online registration assessments held on 17th and 18th March 2021. The vast majority of candidates sat in Pearson VUE test centres, with 83 candidates sitting remotely in Great Britain and overseas using Pearson’s OnVUE system.

 

The GPhC highlighted that a small number of individual candidates experienced some technical issues during the sittings. Several candidates sitting remotely were unable to sit the online registration assessment, with initial analysis suggesting this was due to internet connection issues they were experiencing.

 

A small number of candidates sitting in test centres also experienced some technical issues, which were largely resolved by the test centre staff. Our staff also worked with Pearson VUE to resolve wherever possible some other minor issues experienced by candidates.

 

There have been some concerns raised by candidates that the papers for each sitting were the same or very similar and that this could have an impact on which candidates pass the assessment.

 

The GPhC sought to reassure candidates that different papers were used for each sitting.  The majority of the questions were different, with some questions appearing similar but having appropriately different answers. Although a number of questions were the same, this is standard assessment practice in high-stakes assessments to ensure consistency, fairness and reliability across the two sittings.

 

The GPhC said that there is a robust, thorough and evidence-based process for setting and moderating the papers and ensuring that fairness and an appropriate standard are maintained across papers.

 

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

 

“I would like to congratulate everyone who has now completed the assessment. And thank you to candidates for your patience and professionalism while waiting to sit the assessment, and during the assessment itself.  We know many of you have faced significant difficulties during a very stressful year. Our thanks also go to all those colleagues, family members and friends who have supported candidates through this process.

 

“I am very sorry that a small number of candidates experienced technical issues, either at home or in test centres, and our team will be following up with them on an individual basis to explain their options.

 

“Some candidates have expressed concerns that the papers were very similar across the two sittings and this may lead to some advantage for some candidates.  We would like to reassure candidates that there were different papers for each sitting.

 

“The Board of Assessors will be carefully reviewing the reports from each sitting and taking forward a thorough and evidence-based standard-setting process to set the standard across the sittings and papers, to make sure the outcomes are fair and robust.  We would like to wish every candidate the best of luck for their results.”

 

Candidates who sat the assessment will receive their results on 29 April 2021.

 

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Remaining registration assessment dates announced

 

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) have confirmed the remaining registration assessment dates for 2021 and have also extended the provisional registration period.

The sittings will take place on the following dates:

 

  • Summer assessment:  27th, 28th and 29th July 2021.
  • Autumn assessment:  16th November 2021.

 

These sittings will be delivered through Pearson VUE, mainly at test centres in Great Britain.

 

The registration assessment sittings are usually held in June and September. The GPhC has said that these dates in July and November are the earliest available where Pearson VUE test centres can accommodate the predicted number of candidates under the current social distancing guidelines.

 

The GPhC Council has agreed that provisional registration of pharmacists will be extended to January 2022, to enable trainees from the 2020 and 2021 cohort to apply to join the provisional register once their training is satisfactorily completed, so that they can take up offers of employment at the same time as they usually would, from 1st August 2021. More information about the extension of provisional registration can be found below.

 

Candidates will receive their results around six weeks after each sitting due to the marking process which needs to be carried out once the answer data has been collated. This means that the earliest possible date that candidates who pass the summer assessment could join the register as a pharmacist will be 15 September 2021. For candidates who pass the autumn assessment, this will be 15 January 2022.

Extending provisional registration

 

The GPhC Council has agreed that provisional registration of pharmacists will be extended to January 2022, to enable trainees from the 2020/21 cohort to apply to join the provisional register once their training is satisfactorily completed, so that they can take up offers of employment at the same time as they usually would, from 1st August 2021.

 

The same eligibility criteria will apply to those wanting to join the provisional register in 2021. They will be able to join once they have successfully completed 52 weeks of training (including if they reach 52 weeks after they have sat the registration assessment).

 

This will also allow current provisionally-registered pharmacists who do not feel fit to sit in March, and decide to sit in the summer or autumn instead, to continue working in their current roles until they receive their registration assessment results. It also gives current trainees the option to work as a provisionally registered pharmacist up until January 2022, if they decide they do not feel sit to sit in July and decide to sit in November instead.

Duncan Rudkin, GPhC Chief Executive, said:

 

“Pre-registration pharmacy trainees who have been completing their training during the last 12 months, including those who have gone on to join the provisional register, have risen to the challenge of dealing with a range of unprecedented circumstances. They have made a hugely valuable contribution to providing pharmacy series and delivering patient care during the pandemic, in all areas of pharmacy practice, and we are grateful for all the work they have done.

 

“We understand that holding the sittings in July and November will have an impact on pre-registration trainees, provisionally-registered pharmacists and employers. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to be a significant factor in the logistics of holding assessment sittings and has meant that earlier dates are simply not feasible.

 

“We regret any challenges this may cause and we hope that extending provisional registration will help mitigate these challenges for trainees and employers. This will also help give potential candidates further options when deciding when they feel fit to sit, depending on their individual circumstances.

 

“We are committed to learning lessons from feedback from candidates about the forthcoming March assessment and are working with Pearson VUE to improve candidates’ experience of sitting the assessment.”

 

Read more

 

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GPhC registration fees consultation

 

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) have announced a consultation on proposals to retain a flat registration fee structure. The move comes as part of the GPhC 2030 vision.

 

The consultation also asks whether the GPhC should explore charging to recover costs for the accreditation and reaccreditation or recognition and re-recognition, of all (rather than some) training courses, and qualifications.

 

The consultation on how the GPhC sets fees is open from 10th March until 2nd June 2021.

 

In a statement issued on their website they gave the following detail:

 

“Instead, this consultation seeks feedback on GPhC proposals to retain a flat fee structure, rather than introduce differential fees, for registered pharmacy professionals. This would mean that all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians would continue to pay the same fee as others in their respective registrant group.
The consultation also outlines a proposal to introduce a multi-year fees cycle rather than the current annual cycle, to allow for better forward financial planning by both individual registrants and the GPhC.

 

This consultation marks the second stage of the GPhC’s fee strategy – part of the organisation’s long-term financial strategy. The GPhC is looking at ways to reduce costs, improve efficiency, use reserves more effectively, and make sure those being regulated are paying appropriate fees. The GPhC is also exploring other possible sources of income from its regulatory functions.

 

GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin said:

 

“As set out in our Vision 2030, we are committed to operating as a professional and lean organisation, being both financially stable and sustainable, so we can effectively fund the cost of regulation.

 

“We welcome views on our proposals.”

 

GPhC registration assessment news

 

A day after apologising to future registrants for the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the registration assessment process the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has today announced that they have secured further test centre places in Scotland for the March registration assessment.

 

Announcing it via a written statement on their website, Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

 

“We are pleased to confirm that Pearson VUE have now been able to secure further test centre places in Scotland for the March registration assessment. This means that Scottish candidates who want to sit the assessment in Scotland should be able to do so. We’re working with Pearson VUE to complete the allocation of the test centre places to these candidates by the end of this week and they should receive confirmation emails as soon as their booking has been updated.

 

“We’ve also worked alongside Pearson VUE to make sure that all candidates who had booked afternoon places in a small number of venues due to a technical glitch are rebooked into a new test centre place.

 

“We have contacted the remaining candidates who have not yet booked to offer our help in finding them a place. There are still test centre places available across England and in Wales, so we are confident that everyone who wants to sit in March will be able to do so. We are also responding directly to candidates who have contacted us with any concerns or questions, including about the location of their sitting.

 

“I would like to apologise again for the anxiety and inconvenience this has caused candidates. We are committed to reviewing the issues from this sitting and taking all possible steps to avoid these issues happening in the future.”

 

Pharmacy in Practice has requested a video interview with the GPhC to deliver feedback from the candidates who have written letters to the editor.

 

 

Has your life been impacted by the situation around the provisional registration process? We would really like to hear from you. If you answer the questions below and indicate that you give us permission we will publish your contribution as a letter to the editor.

 

We'll use your email address only to get back in touch with you after filling in this form.
We'll use your email address only to get back in touch with you after filling in this form.
We welcome all contributions and personal opinions are encouraged but please do make sure you back up any claims with suitable references.

 

 

GPhC announce further temporary revalidation changes

 

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) have announced that registrants due to submit their revalidation records between 1st May 2021 to 30th November 2021 will only need to submit a reflective account when they renew their registration.

 

This decision marks the extension of a similar decision made last year in March 2020. The GPhC has said that these changes have been made to recognise the on-going pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In a statement issued from their press office this morning the GPhC said the following:

 

“In March 2020, we introduced a change to revalidation requirements in recognition of the pressures on pharmacy professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“We have decided to continue this approach for pharmacy professionals who are due to renew their registration on or before 30 November 2021 and whose registration expires on or before 31 January 2022. This takes into account the continuing pressures placed on the pharmacy sector by the pandemic.

 

“Registrants due to submit their revalidation records between 1 May – 30 November 2021 will only need to submit a reflective account when they renew their registration during that period.

 

“Pharmacy professionals are still expected to reflect on one or more of the following three standards when completing their reflective account:

 

  • Standard 3 – pharmacy professionals must communicate effectively.
  • Standard 6 – pharmacy professionals must behave professionally.
  • Standard 9 – pharmacy professionals must demonstrate leadership.

 

“We would encourage pharmacy professionals to reflect on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic when completing their reflective account.

 

“Pharmacy professionals will need to submit their reflective account via myGPhC as usual when renewing their registration; we will be updating myGPhC to reflect this change in requirements.

 

“Our current aim would be that we will resume full revalidation requirements for pharmacy professionals with registration renewal dates from 1 December 2021 onwards and registration expiry dates from 1 February 2022 onwards, but we will keep this under review and provide an update later in the year.”

 

 

My first feelings in this profession include stress and panic attacks

 

Dear PIP Editor,

 

I am sorry to say this but I do believe the pharmacist registration assessment has been conducted very badly this year. I am highlighting this on my own behalf but also on behalf of the students who have had to resit the exam.

 

We have all been waiting for the GPhC to provide updates regarding the exam and it has been very stressful. It feels like no-one cares about us and we have been completely left out.

 

I believe that after completing a masters degree, completed a pre-registration year for 12 months and been signed off given the circumstances we should be allowed to join the register.

 

We all demonstrated our competencies to become qualified pharmacists. The GPhC could make the whole process so much easier. I wish I had not had months without work and month.

 

I have been diagnosed with panic attacks due to this on-going stressful situation. I know I am a resitter but all I ask is a fair chance.

 

Some have that the registration assessment is essential this year. The content of the exam, whilst important, comprises largely of information from the BNF which is available at the pharmacy at all times.

 

We have been trained for 12 months so should have done enough to provide patient care and to follow GPhC standards. The exam doesn’t reflect if we are good or bad pharmacists.

 

This year has had an enormous impact on my health. It feels extremely stressful and this is sad because it seems like the situation could be avoidable.

 

I have been diagnosed with panic attacks and these have become worse throughout the year. I continue to become more stressed because I have to continue to wait to hear further news.

 

I am currently not able to work as others have because I’m a resitter.

 

Yours etc.,

 

Anon.

 

This student wishes to remain anonymous.

 

 

Has your life been impacted by the situation around the provisional registration process? We would really like to hear from you. If you answer the questions below and indicate that you give us permission we will publish your contribution as a letter to the editor.

 

We'll use your email address only to get back in touch with you after filling in this form.
We'll use your email address only to get back in touch with you after filling in this form.
We welcome all contributions and personal opinions are encouraged but please do make sure you back up any claims with suitable references.