The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is proposing that overseas applicants to the registers of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians could use a recent pass of the Pharmacy Occupational English Language Test (OET) as evidence of their English language competence.
Up until now, the GPhC has only accepted a pass in the International English Language testing System (IELTS) as evidence of overseas candidates’ English language skills.
This change to the guidance would give applicants an option, which assesses language skills using real healthcare communication scenarios that candidates are likely to meet in the workplace.
The Pharmacy OET would be accepted as an alternative to IELTS for eligibility to start the Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme, and for registration, the pharmacy regulator said.
The OET is the only English language test specifically for healthcare professionals. To meet the level of English language ability required, individuals taking the Pharmacy OET would be required to score at least a B in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking in English at one sitting of the test.
This would be the equivalent of our current requirement for a recent pass of the academic version of IELTS with an overall score of at least seven and with no score less than seven in each of the four areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking at one sitting of the test.
GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “Everyone applying to register as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician must provide evidence of the ability to communicate clearly in English, to deliver safe and effective healthcare to patients and the public in Great Britain.
“We welcome your views on our proposal to broaden the qualifications we would accept as evidence of English language skills.”