Trainee pharmacists who were severely impacted by delays to the June 2022 registration assessment will be able to join a provisional register, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has announced.
Just under 2,700 candidates sat the registration assessment on 29 June 2022 in BTL test centres across the UK, but the GPhC confirmed that around 240 trainees experienced delays in starting either Paper 1 or Paper 2, which the regulator said was down to “IT or other technical issues”.
In Nottingham, candidates were only able to start the first paper in the late afternoon, despite it being due to begin at 09:30.
In a statement issued on 1 July 2022, the regulator said that the GPhC council had agreed that affected candidates could “remain on the provisional register from 1 August 2022 until 1 February 2023, to give them the opportunity to sit and pass the next sitting of the registration assessment on 3 November  and to join the pharmacist register”.
The GPhC will set criteria to decide if a candidate is eligible for provisional registration. Those criteria will be published “as soon as possible”, the statement added.
On 30 June 2022, a statement from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society described the delays as an “appalling experience” for candidates, and said it expected to see that “no candidate’s progression to registration will be delayed due operational issues outside of their control”.
The original provisional register was introduced in August 2020, after the summer 2020 preregistration assessment was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. It closed on 31 January 2022.
The GPhC also confirmed that candidates who had experienced severe delays would have their assessment fees refunded. Also, in the event they do not pass the assessment, the delayed sitting would not count as an attempt to pass.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said: “We share the sense of anger that many have expressed about the severe delays that some candidates sitting the registration assessment have experienced.
“We believe an offer of provisional registration to the candidates who were severely impacted by delays is the right thing to do in terms of standards and the public interest, as well as going a long way to allaying candidates’ concerns about employment and income.
“We also need to ensure we get to the bottom of the root causes so that we can understand how better to reduce the chance of future problems and protect future candidates, including those sitting the exam in November.”
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