The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has appointed a new provider to run the common registration assessment for the next three years.  

From June, the common registration assessment, which is now held jointly by GPhC and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI), will be held by the BTL Group online.  

In a statement, published on its website yesterday (12 January), the GPhC also confirmed it would be running two exam sittings in 2022 - as was the case before the pandemic began.

More information for GPhC candidates on assessment dates, the location of test centres and booking procedures will be available on the GPhC website in the coming week, it added. 

This news comes after several students, who sat their exams during the pandemic, faced issues booking and sitting their assessments while the temporary assessment provider, Person Vue, ran the exams.  

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, confirmed that BTL has ‘extensive experience of running high stakes healthcare examinations similar to the common registration assessment’. 

According to the GPhC, the provider’s experience includes delivering services to clinical clients, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Ophthalmology.  

Mr Rudkin added: ‘The information provided by BTL during the tender process has given us the necessary assurance that they can support us in continuing to deliver a fair and robust assessment that tests candidates’ ability to register as a pharmacist.  

‘We will now work closely with BTL on arrangements for the sittings in 2022, to make sure we can provide a positive experience for candidates,’ he said.  

Trevor Patterson, PSNI chief executive and interim registrar said: ‘We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the GPhC and building on the success of the November registration assessment by jointly delivering a UK- wide common registration assessment for trainee pharmacists with the new provider BTL’. 

In November, The GPhC and the PSNI  announced a 61% pass rate for the first four-country common registration exam for pharmacists. 

The GPhC and PSNI first announced that they would introduce a common registration exam across the UK in 2019 to ‘fully harmonise’ pharmacy education across the UK.