Over 6,000 former pharmacists are being granted temporary registration to enable them to return to work after to assist pharmacies amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has today (27 March) announced that it has given 3,332 former pharmacists and 2,909 former pharmacy technicians from across the UK temporary registration to help support the sector.

This comes after the secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock – who today has himself been tested positive for Covid-19 -- asked the body to use its emergency powers to rapidly register pharmacy professionals in response to the growing national health emergency.

According to the GPhC, the former pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are those who previously voluntarily removed themselves from the register or ‘were removed for non-renewal’ in the past three years. They are now fit to practice ‘anywhere in Great Britain if they choose to’ providing they meet the standards for pharmacy professionals, which includes working within the limits of their skills and competence, the regulator said.

This comes as the GPhC enters its first stage of re-registration arrangements, initially published earlier this month (12 March) in preparation for the outbreak. A second phase could see a further 900 pharmacists and 900 technicians called back into work temporarily.

Chief Executive of The GPhC, Duncan Rudkin said: ‘Pharmacy professionals are working on the very frontline, under significant pressure, to support patients and the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘We have already been contacted by many of the pharmacy professionals who have been temporarily registered to say they want to return to work to help care for patients during this national emergency.

‘I would like to thank each one of them for considering returning to practice during these very difficult times; their contribution will make a significant difference in the response to this pandemic.’

Earlier this month, the PDA stressed that retired pharmacists, who could be called back into pharmacies to help with the coronavirus, must not be pressured into doing so.