Rules on work placements that led to some preregistration pharmacists being “exploited” have been dropped by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
Announcing its ‘Registration assessment regulations for sittings in 2020’, published in October 2019, the GPhC said it had removed a requirement for preregistration pharmacists sitting their assessment exam for a third time, or taking it for a second time with a long break, to undergo a further six-month work placement.
All preregistration pharmacists have to complete 52 weeks of preregistration training, which must be signed off as satisfactory by a tutor.
The GPhC said it had removed the requirement for a second period of work experience “so that you can reflect on your performance in the assessment and form your own plan to address the issues you identify”.
It added that, although there was no longer a formal requirement to complete further work experience, candidates may want to continue with an existing placement or arrange further work experience.
”If you do decide to carry out further pharmacy work experience, you do not need to notify us or provide any information to us about it,” the regulator added.
Unlike the initial preregistration year placement, second placements were not funded, leaving preregistration pharmacists in a difficult position.
Khalid Khan, head of training and professional standards at community pharmacy chain Imaan Healthcare, said this had led to some “unsavoury practices”.
“It meant that some preregistration pharmacists would not be paid and some would work for a vastly reduced salary. I think Pharmacist Support have raised the issue of preregistration pharmacists effectively being exploited,” he said.
“I think most people will welcome the fact that it’s gone”.
Regan McCahill, president of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association, said that although the organisation did not have an official stance on the change, she “would suggest that poor working conditions can never be a constructive part of the training process and the wellbeing of all potential pharmacists is integral to a successful entry to the profession”.