European-qualified pharmacists will have to complete the same English language tests as non-European pharmacists to work in Great Britain, say proposals from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
Following changes to the law in March 2015, the GPhC will have the power to enforce a minimum English language requirement on pharmacists who qualified in the European Economic Area (EEA) and wish to practise in Great Britain. It also means any pharmacist who does not meet the language requirements could have fitness to practise proceedings initiated against them.
Currently, only pharmacists who qualified outside of the EEA are required to demonstrate English language skills. They have to pass the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test before registering with the GPhC. If the proposals go ahead, these requirements will apply to EEA-qualified pharmacists as well.
Under the new plans, a pharmacy degree completed in English, or two years practising in an English-speaking country, will be acceptable evidence of English language skills. This will mean that pharmacists who qualified in countries such as Australia and New Zealand will no longer have to sit the IELTS tests.
Regarding fitness to practise, if the GPhC receives an allegation that a pharmacist practising in Great Britain does not have the necessary language skills, the pharmacist will be required to complete the IELTS test.
The plans are part of a consultation by the GPhC that is open until 17 December 2015.