The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has named the pharmacy schools with the lowest pre-registration exam pass rates.
A report on the June 2019 pharmacy registration assessment by the regulator found that there was a ‘wide’ variety in pass rates between different pharmacy schools.
While the average overall pass rate for the June sitting of the exam was 72% – its lowest level since the regulator took responsibility for the exam in 2011 – five schools’ MPharm courses had pass rates of 65% or below.
The University of Central Lancashire MPharm course had the worst pass rate at 47%, closely followed by the University of Wolverhampton MPharm course at 47.5%.
The pharmacy schools at the University of Brighton (MPharm course), Kingston University and the University of Portsmouth achieved pass rates of 52%, 56% and 65% respectively.
Students at the University College London pharmacy school achieved the highest pass rate at 93% and University of Bath MPharm students came in second at 91%.
For a list of how all the pharmacy schools performed in the June 2019 registration assessment, see the GPhC’s latest board papers.
A spokesperson for the University of Wolverhampton said the university was ‘disappointed’ with its pass rate in the June registration exam. It is ‘working closely’ with the GPhC to review how it prepares its students for the pre-registration year, it said.
Kingston University ‘continually reviews its courses’ and implemented ‘a number of changes’ ahead of the last academic year, a spokesperson said.
They added: ‘The full impact of these changes will not be fully realised until the current cohort who completed their first year in 2018-19 sit their pre-registration assessment.’
The University of Portsmouth has also ‘put measures in place’ to improve its pass rate following a recent review, a spokesperson said.
A University of Brighton spokesperson said: ‘We have a high proportion of BAME students and students who require learning support who, according to the GPhC’s own analysis, do not traditionally do well in the exam.’
They added that 20-40% of the pharmacy school’s students do not take the exam in the June sitting and that many undertake their pre-registration year ‘in parts of the sector identified as having lower pass rates’.
However, the university is putting in place ‘additional support’ such as further maths testing to help students pass the registration exam first-time round, the spokesperson added.
A spokesperson for the University of Central Lancashire said: ‘While these latest results are disappointing, we have made recent investments into our pharmacy provision in terms of staffing and resources so we’re confident that attainment levels will improve in the future.’
The group of schools with the lowest pass rates ‘has not changed significantly in the last few years’, according to the GPhC report.
It said: ‘While there can be several factors affecting individual performance, including the experience in the pre-registration year, we do believe this requires further investigation and will be meeting the five schools in the next few weeks to hear their views on the reason for the lower performance.’
A GPhC spokesperson told The Pharmacist that the regulator will ‘consider any further steps that need to be taken to ensure the schools are meeting the required standards’ following the discussions.
Students who sat the June 2019 exam said it was skewed towards hospital pharmacy and did not reflect pharmacists’ day-to-day practice due to ‘unreasonable’ time pressure.