Pre-reg exam pass rate below 50% for trainees from one pharmacy chain

New figures released by the examining board suggest that trainees at NHS institutions tend to do better.

Students sitting exam

Preregistration pharmacists being trained at one chain of pharmacies achieved a pass rate of just 41.7% in this summer’s General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration assessment, new figures from the GPhC have revealed.

The pre-reg pharmacists being trained at the Britannia Pharmacy chain of pharmacies, which operate in east London and the home counties and is owned by Laville Ltd, achieved the lowest pass rate. Trainees from the HA McParland chain of pharmacies achieved the second lowest pass rate of 64.7%. But three NHS training providers – the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – saw 100% of their trainees pass the pre-reg exam which was held in June 2017.

The average pass rate for this summer’s exam was 78%.

Of the high street pharmacy chains, which trained more than 50 pharmacists ahead of the assessment, Lloyds achieved the lowest pass rate at 74.8%. Boots had a pass rate of 86.4%, and Well Pharmacy scored 78.7%. Superdrug, which had between 20 and 49 candidates sitting the exam, had a pass rate of 90.9%.

A spokesperson for HA McParland, which operates a number of pharmacies to the west of London, said the feedback they received from the GPhC suggested a lack of preparation for the assessment and poor exam technique from its trainees.

“Last year we also encountered more candidates who lacked an appreciation that they needed to undertake learning themselves and that not everything that they needed to pass the pre-reg exam would be ‘taught/given’ to them,” they said.

“Unfortunately, although this is made clear to all our pre-regs during the induction and over the course of the year, there are still some who do not change their approach to the pre-reg year and, as a result, are ill-prepared for the assessment.”

The firm said it was considering using an external provider to deliver additional, off-the-job, support to preregistration trainees.

A spokesperson for Lloyds said: “At a particularly challenging time for pharmacy, we are committed to investing in training and development, when many others aren’t — in fact, our programme has grown consistently over the last three years.

“Although traditionally we have a strong exam results record, this year we achieved a lower pass rate than we expected. Compared with 2016, when we were one of the top performing providers, this year’s pass rate was much lower across the board. We are disappointed with this outcome, but we believe that it doesn’t accurately reflect the hard work and dedication of our trainees and their tutors. We are keen to learn why this has happened and make sure that we return to our consistent record of success.”

The spokesperson said they regularly survey their trainees and each year area managers review the pharmacy, suitability of tutor and learning environments of trainees.

Britannia Pharmacy did not respond to a request for comment.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2017, Vol 299, No 7907;299(7907):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203783

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