Community pharmacy is the top employment setting for provisionally-registered pharmacists, a survey by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has found.

The survey of 1,221 provisional registrants found more than half (58%) were working in community pharmacies, while just over a third (39%) were working in hospitals.

Another 2% were working in general practice, while 1% said they were working in multiple settings – usually a combination of community pharmacy with secondary or primary care, the GPhC said.

Provisional registration was introduced earlier this year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to allow trainees to put their education and training into practice and support NHS services.

The GPhC survey found most respondents (80%) were employed as pharmacists and 68% were currently employed by the setting they had trained in. Of those not employed, almost three-quarters (73%) said they were actively looking for work.

Risk assessments

The GPhC’s survey also asked provisional registrants about their employer’s compliance with risk assessments and found 90% of respondents have had their assessment completed.

Compliance was highest among community pharmacy employers (93%), followed by multiple settings (90%), hospitals (85%), and general practice (82%).

However, the GPhC said lower levels of compliance were generally due to a registrant not knowing whether their assessment had been completed, with only 5% of respondents working in hospitals reporting that they had not had an assessment, and 1% in community pharmacy.

No respondents working in general practice or across multiple settings reported they had not had a risk assessment, the report added.

Most respondents (97%) also said they knew who their named senior pharmacist was and 98% reported that they had access to clinical advice and guidance when this was needed.

The GPhC said that in the ‘small minority of cases’ where the survey identified issues with risk assessments and access to clinical support, its inspectors have contacted the employer wherever possible ‘to seek assurance that they have made steps to rectify these’.

Pre-reg exam

Last month, the regulator announced that the pre-registration exam for 2019/20 students will be held ‘in the first quarter of 2021’, after it was postponed earlier in the year due to Covid.

The delay in setting a new date had previously been criticised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association as ‘deeply troubling’.

The GPhC said on Twitter last week that candidates eligible to sit the exam would receive another update later today (30 November).