As any aspiring student pharmacist will know, pre-registration trainees are required to sit the GPhC’s Pre-Registration Assessment before they are able to become a fully qualified pharmacist.
The assessment has two papers and a pre-registration pharmacist is able to sit this assessment three times. If they have not passed the assessment by the third attempt, their careers in pharmacy are effectively over as the GPhC will not allow them to progress without passing the assessment.
This means that, for some, all the years of hard work at university and working ‘on the job; during their pre-registration year has all been for nothing.
Understandably many wish to appeal when they fail this assessment for the third time. However, they can only do so where there are grounds to appeal.
This year, pre-registration pharmacists were asked for feedback in relation to the pre-registration assessment and, alarmingly, just under half of the responses of those who provided feedback stated that they did not believe that paper two of the assessment was a ‘true or accurate reflection of the day-to-day practice of a newly qualified pharmacist.’
121 pre-registration pharmacists responded with feedback to the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association and provided a negative answer to the question of whether paper 2 was comparable to practice.
Some of the candidates sitting the assessment reported that the options available as answers on the paper were limited whereas in reality, there were better options available.
An example of this is a question relating to a 15 year old girl who attends the pharmacy having had sex 4 days ago and seeking contraceptive options after the event. Many pre-registration pharmacists stated that they would have given the patient ulipristal as an alternative to the options provided on paper two of the assessment.
In addition, some changes in pharmaceutics have taken place over the past year and candidates expected these changes to be included in the pre-registration assessment but they were not.
Candidates also reported that the paper was not the same level of difficulty as the sample papers produced by the GPhC and published on its website.
In relation to paper 1 of the pre-registration assessment, 124 pre-registration pharmacists provided feedback and stated that the content was not varied enough and so only some subjects learnt in the registration assessment framework were being tested. It was also suggested that the guidance provided to pre-registration pharmacists was not at all helpful as the guidance did not reflect the sorts of questions that were asked.
It has been reported that the BPSA who asked for the feedback, received 249 responses in total with ‘little or no positive feedback’.
So, will this lead to a change in the pre-registration assessment for pharmacists? Perhaps so but not yet. As a result, more and more pre-registration pharmacists may find themselves failing this assessment three times, despite thorough preparation.
Here at Burton Copeland, our specialist team can assist if you are a pre-registration pharmacist who finds yourself in this situation and wants to appeal. Contact us today on 0161 827 9500 or fill out our online form. We can help.