The clinical training providing to provisionally registered and pre-registration pharmacists during the pandemic is to be assessed, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has announced.

The regulatory body said yesterday (25 March) it had commissioned Keele University to research the ‘experiences of clinical training over the last 12 months and preparations around sitting the registration assessment’.

The results found from the research will feed into the GPhC’s work on educational reform to the initial education and training of pharmacists, the regulator added.

Keele University will interview provisionally-registered pharmacists, pre-registration trainees, tutors and supervisors to look at the overall experience of clinical training under pandemic conditions.

It will also assess how well-equipped provisional registrants and pre-registration trainees feel about working as a fully registered pharmacist.

Paul Day, director of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), welcomed the GPhC’s review and said the pandemic had ‘undoubtedly changed’ what would otherwise have been the experience of several cohorts of pre-registration trainees.

‘Though all pharmacists, indeed the whole population, had to cope with an unprecedented situation, for these new entrants to the profession this was at the moment that their future career path was beginning and it could shape their entire career for better, or for worse,’ he said.

‘We welcome the GPhC review, so that they can be better prepared for any potential similar scenario in future, to ensure appropriate support is in place for the next cohort of ‘trainee pharmacists’ due to start this summer.’

He added that this would also give the individuals involved as pre-reg/prov-reg over the last year ‘what they may need to mitigate against any negative aspects from the experience’.

‘We also encourage the review to consider the alternative approach followed by the PSNI in Northern Ireland,’ Mr Day said.

The GPhC said all target participation groups should look out for an email how to get involved.

Earlier this month, the GPhC announced that it will be extending the provisional register until January 2022 to ‘mitigate some of the issues’ delayed exam sittings may have caused.

The regulator also confirmed the dates of the delayed summer and autumn assessments, which will be held on three days between 27 and 29 July 2021, and on 16 November 2021.