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The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has announced that the provisional registration of pharmacists will be extended to January 2022.

The extension has been made to enable trainee pharmacists from the 2020/21 cohort to apply to join the provisional register once their training is satisfactorily completed.

The pharmacy regulator has also confirmed the dates of the delayed summer and autumn assessments of provisional registrants which will be held from July 27 to 29 and on November 16 respectively.

“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 August 1, 2021,” the regulator said in its latest update.

The extension of provisional registration will make trainees and provisionally registered-pharmacists to wait longer than expected to sit the assessment, join the register, and take up roles as fully-registered pharmacists.

This will also have an impact on employers who would have been expecting newly-qualified pharmacists to join the register from August 2021.

The registration assessment sittings are usually held in June and September. 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.

“Candidates on each of the three days will sit a different paper, but we would emphasise that number and types of questions, and the standard required to pass will not change,” the regulator added.

The same eligibility criteria will apply to those planning 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).

Duncan Rudkin, GPhC Chief Executive, said: “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.”

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