Issues with preregistration training need resolving now

Since its introduction there have been concerns around the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) registration assessment, particularly in respect of its negative impact on preregistration trainees’ during the latter part of their training year. The recent letters and articles in The Pharmaceutical Journal echo the concerns raised in The Journal in 2011 and in discussions on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s general group virtual network.

It is good news that the GPhC is to hold a stakeholders meeting in November 2015 to look at the future of pharmacy education and training, and to discover what their analysis of preregistration pass rates says about such training and the MPharm degree. But it is also important that time be spent addressing the question as to whether or not the registration assessment should be the final determinant of registration.

Arguments can be raised that an independent final examination is needed in the public interest to screen out poor quality trainees. Furthermore, such a final examination may also address any differences in the quality of the trainees’ undergraduate education. If these arguments are accepted then all trainees must receive, from their tutors and placements, a high level of support for both their achievement of performance standards and their preparation for the registration examination.

There is an alternative argument that the assessment of trainees’ performance in their practice placement should be the final determinant for registration. Accepting this argument, steps need to be taken to ensure that the assessment tools are fit for purpose, that preregistration tutors are adequately trained and supported in the use of these tools, and that trainees receive high quality training, experience and assessment across all preregistration placements.

All these issues were addressed in the proposals for a five-year integrated undergraduate education and preregistration training programme, put forward by the Modernising Pharmacy Careers Board in 2011. Implementation of these proposals would go a long way to resolving all the concerns around both undergraduate education and preregistration training and experience. Hopefully the GPhC November meeting will also discuss and confirm the appropriateness of these proposals and address how to overcome the delays in their implementation. Too much time has been wasted already.

Douglas Hancox


New Zealand

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Issues with preregistration training need resolving now;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069445

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