The date for the summer 2015 professional registration assessment for pharmacy students, which again falls during the holy month of Ramadan, may be rescheduled to allow Muslim students to observe their obligations.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is considering moving the exam date from its usual Friday slot to Thursday, following advice from Muslim leaders, its assessment board and former students about the potential impact of Ramadan on students completing the assessment.
The GPhC acknowledged that it has a legal responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to cater for religious requirements.
It has decided against moving the exams from June to another month because, according to its board of assessors, it would require the pre-registration training period to be rescheduled which was “unrealistic”.
Duncan Rudkin, GPhC’s chief executive and registrar, said: “Moving the registration from Friday to the day before means that it would still be within Ramadan but not on the Friday which is particularly holy and has specific obligations in terms of prayer.”
Advice to the GPhC from the chief imam of the Central London Mosque and a Muslim advisor at a university with a large Muslim student population was that it was acceptable to run an exam during Ramadan “on an exceptional basis”.
The chief imam said it was compulsory for men and women to fast during Ramadan but there were exceptions if a person was travelling or was unwell.
Fasting was an individual choice, a surgeon, for example, could decide against fasting on the grounds it may affect their concentration in theatre, the GPhC was told.
Details about the changes will be published in the November 2014 pre-registration bulletin, Rudkin confirmed.