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EEA pharmacists allowed to practise in UK after Brexit

By Isabel Shaw

27 Nov 2020

EEA-qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians already registered with the GPhC can continue practising in the UK after the Brexit transition period ends, under new legislation enacted by the Government.

Pharmacists who have qualified outside of the UK but within the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), and who have the relevant European qualifications, will also still be able to apply to register with the GPhC for up to two years, according to guidance published on the regulator’s website today (27 November).

Meanwhile, pharmacists coming from Switzerland, or pharmacists who are spouses of Swiss nationals, will be able to apply for registration with the GPhC for up to four years, due to a Citizens’ Rights Agreement, which both the UK and Switzerland have signed, the guidance said.

‘Simplified’ registration route

According to the GPhC, EEA pharmacists will have a ‘simplified route’ to gaining registration, providing their qualification is listed. This is because applications to work in the UK will be ‘based on the pharmacist’s qualification, rather than their nationality’, it said.

EEA-qualified pharmacy technicians, however, have been advised to submit a complete application to the GPhC before the transition period ends on 1 January, as the body will not be accepting applications after this date.

Pharmacy technicians from the EEA who wish to work in the UK after 1 January will have to complete the GPhC approved pharmacy technician qualifications before being able to apply for registration.

Temporary and occasional services

The guidance also said that EEA qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will no longer be able to register for temporary and occasional (T&O) services after the transition period.

This is because the UK will no longer have access to the Internal Market Information (IMI) system and therefore applications for the European Professional Card (EPC) can no longer be processed by UK regulators, the GPhC explained.

In October, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said that overseas pharmacists should be granted easier access to work in the UK after stricter immigration rules come into force at the end of this year.

The committee’s recommendation followed its review of the shortage occupation list (SOL), which found a ‘national shortage in this occupation due to a decline in the number of pharmacy graduates and increasing demand for their services’ had led to ‘recruitment difficulties’.

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