The delayed pre-registration assessment for 2019/20 candidates is still expected to go ahead in March despite calls to cancel it, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has confirmed.
In a letter sent to candidates last night (5 January), the regulatory body said that Pearson Vue – the supplier overseeing the assessment this year – is keeping its test centres open during the pandemic for health regulation examinations, including under national lockdowns.
A GPhC spokesperson told the Pharmacist: ‘We wrote to candidates yesterday evening to inform them that as it currently stands, Pearson VUE have confirmed that their test centres will remain open during the pandemic for health regulation examinations, including under national lockdowns.
‘Pearson VUE test centres have remained open for key assessments throughout the pandemic, including during the first lockdown in March 2020. All Pearson VUE test centres are Covid-secure and follow social distancing guidelines.’
The spokesperson added that the situation was being kept ‘under active review’.
The pre-reg exam – which was initially postponed last April in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – is currently rescheduled for 17 and 18 March after months of delays.
In November, the GPhC confirmed that candidates would take the online exam at a test centre, in response to concerns raised by some about the suitability of their home environment.
However, following the latest national lockdown announcement earlier this week, pharmacy students, professionals and sector bodies have called on the GPhC to scrap the 2019/20 pre-reg exam.
Students have voiced concerns about travelling to the test centre after a sharp rise in Covid cases prompted the new lockdown – and over the necessity of the assessment itself given that many have already worked as provisionally-registered pharmacists for months during the pandemic.
The GPhC has also previously faced criticism for failing to set a new date for the exam sooner.