Registration assessment candidates who experienced delays of 30 minutes or more in either of the two parts of the June 2022 exam will be eligible to join the provisional register, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has said.
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 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”.
In an update published on 8 July 2022, the GPhC said that “procedural error” experienced during the June exam would be accepted as a reason for provisional registration, as long as the candidates met other eligibility criteria set by the GPhC Council, which include no previous instances of failing the assessment; having completed 52 weeks of preregistration or foundation training; and not being subject to any fitness-to-practise proceedings.
Candidates affected by the delays will be contacted by 13 July 2022, the regulator said.
The GPhC said that it would also consider other issues, besides delays, as a reason to join the provisional register. It advised candidates, who believe that a procedural error, such as “significant technical problems or other major disruption during the sitting”, to appeal if they did not pass the assessment. If the appeal is upheld, these candidates will also be eligible for provisional registration.
The regulator added that it is to bring in external consultants to audit the registration assessment processes and the contract with BTL to find out what went wrong.
In the update, Gisela Abbam, chair of the GPhC, said: “We know our apology cannot undo the significant emotional upset and worry that has been caused.
“As a council, we are absolutely committed to supporting the individual candidates affected by significant problems, and to taking swift action to prevent this happening again.
“The council is extremely dissatisfied with the way the assessment was delivered. We are urgently investigating with BTL what went wrong through a serious incident review and will then consider what further action we should take, so that there is due accountability.”
The GPhC said it will shortly be inviting candidates to online sessions in which they can give feedback directly to GPhC council members on the registration assessment. It is also setting up a new Council Committee on Quality and Performance Assurance.