A pharmacy union is urging employers to support pharmacy students ahead of results day next week (29 April).

In a statement, published on their website yesterday (18 April), the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) asked that ‘employers take every effort to treat all those who do not pass fairly, sensitively and with dignity’.

‘Not just because that is the decent thing for employers to do, but at a time that the role of pharmacists is now on the shortage occupation list, employers should be extremely mindful of the impact their actions will have on their reputation with potential future employees,’ it said.

The body also reminded employers that ‘the whole cohort and the wider profession will see how employers treat these vulnerable employees at this time.’

This comes as the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) confirmed last week that provisionally registered pharmacists who do not pass their assessment will be removed from the register.

The PDA said this means that the employees ‘will face the end of their current employed role and their professional relationship as the pharmacist with colleagues and patients, along with the associated implications for their immediate financial situation’.

‘This is not something that has happened in previous years,’ the body added.

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 provisional register has since been extended by the GPhC to January 2022 to ‘mitigate some of the issues’ delayed exam sittings may cause.

Jasraj Mathura, provisional registered pharmacist and PDA Union executive committee member, said: ‘I understand how daunting it can be waiting for the results of the assessment.

‘I wish all PDA members, my friends and colleagues the best of luck with their results. Whatever the outcome, please know that the PDA are here to support you on your journey as you look towards the future as a pharmacist, or plan for the next phase towards being a pharmacist in the summer when a further opportunity to sit the assessment is available.’

He added: ‘While the results to be published on the 29 April are yet unknown, there is something we all know, including the PDA, pharmacy profession and the regulator; the cohort of 2019/20 and all those whose registration has been affected by the pandemic have shown resilience, professionalism and have been a credit to their profession.

‘The support you’ve provided to your patients, pharmacy, healthcare and your communities will never be forgotten.’