Pre-registration Manual

Training requirements in more detail: 2.8 - 2.19

2.8  Funding for pre-registration training

We do:

  • provide a training record as proof of your training arrangement, for you to give to your employer. If you are a community pharmacy trainee, your employer will send this to the CCG (for trainees in England), Local Health Board (for trainees in Wales) or NES (for trainees in Scotland)
  • send you a new training record:
    • if your training site changes
    • if your training needs to be extended

We do not:

  • give funding for pre-registration training
  • influence whether or not you are eligible for funding within any particular training arrangement or at any stage of training. Therefore we are not able to give advice on whether you will be able to get funding for your training
  • tell anyone else about your change of training arrangements, so any responsibility for telling funding providers about this lies with you or your employer (or both)
  • show on your training record whether your training is full or part–time, so any responsibility for telling funding providers about this lies with you or your employer (or both)
  • issue a training record to anyone other than the trainee named on the training record.

2.9  Restrictions on the training site and tutor

To make sure there is an objective relationship between trainees and tutors, you must not train anywhere that you:

  • have a significant financial interest in, or
  • have a significant relationship with a director, owner or employee

‘Significant’ relationships include:

  • any family relationships, such as father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin and so on
  • family relationships through marriage or civil partnership
  • girlfriend-boyfriend-partner relationships
  • people you depend on financially or to whom you have a financial commitment
  • people who depend on you financially or who have a financial commitment to you

In a public sector placement (for example an NHS hospital trust) where there is clearly no commercial interest, we will consider applications from trainees wanting to train at a site where a family member or partner works. However, the training provider is responsible for making sure that training and assessment is managed by someone else, to avoid any conflict of interest. Any operational issues that may arise through this must be managed by the training provider.

Important: The tutor is responsible for approving the competence of their trainee. Any abuse of this responsibility resulting from any family relationship will be a fitness to practise issue for the pharmacist and we may terminate the trainee's training placement.

2.10  Deciding where and how to train

Most trainees will train in one sector for the full 52 weeks. But there is also the option to train in more than one sector. There are patient-facing sectors, such as community and hospital pharmacy, and non-patient-facing sectors such as the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

If you decide to train in more than one sector, there are two main options:

  • joint training: you train for up to 26 weeks in a non-patient-facing sector and for at least 26 weeks in a patient-facing hospital or community pharmacy
  • split training: you train in both hospital and community pharmacy

Examples of training plans can include:

  • the full 52 weeks in a single patient-facing sector
  • split training plans with, for example, six (or perhaps nine) months spent in community pharmacy and six (or perhaps three) months in hospital pharmacy
  • joint training plans with six (or perhaps nine) months spent in a patient-facing sector and six (or perhaps three) months in a non-patient-facing sector
  • integral training plans, where at least half the week is in a patient-facing sector and the rest of the time covers other aspects of pharmacy practice such as internet pharmacy services (as this would be classed as non patient-facing)

One university in Great Britain – Bradford – offers a five-year degree including two 26-week periods of training in different academic years. This is known as ‘sandwich’ training – if you are on a sandwich course, you will have made this choice when you applied to Bradford as an undergraduate.

The University of Nottingham and University of East Anglia run 5-year pharmacy courses that include pre-registration training. Although our pre-registration scheme requirements still apply to Nottingham and UEA students, any pre-registration training you do as part of either course must comply with university regulations also.

2.11  Full- and part-time training

Usually training is full time, which means working between 35 and 45 hours a week.

You must agree any arrangements to work part time with the GPhC in advance. ‘Part time’ means working at least 17.5 hours a week, over at least three days a week. This might be agreed before you start training or as the result of a change in circumstances during the year.

Things to consider when deciding if a part-time training arrangement is right for you:

  • Will you still be eligible to sit your chosen assessment? To enter the registration assessment, you will need to complete at least the equivalent of 39 weeks’ full-time training by the assessment entry date for any particular sitting.
  • Can you meet the GPhC Criteria for initial education and training? You should complete your part-time training within the time limits given, and there is no extra time allowed if you choose to train part time.
  • Will you have enough contact time with your tutor? You should make sure that the hours you usually work each week overlap with your tutor for at least 80 per cent of the time you are working.
  • Will your part-time arrangement affect any other trainees? Usually your tutor will only be allowed to supervise one trainee at a time. If changing to a part-time arrangement means your training will overlap with that of another trainee, you should discuss with us whether the arrangement meets our requirements.

Your employer must also agree that their standard training plan can be changed to fit in with this arrangement and still give you the opportunity to meet all the performance standards.

2.12  Training outside Great Britain

You may carry out up to 13 of the 52 weeks of your training in a pharmacy in another member state of the European Union. This must be one continuous placement and must be completed between weeks 13 and 26 of training. The training outcomes for those 13 weeks must form part of your training plan, and you must agree them with your tutor and the GPhC before you start your training year.

2.13  Training at another site in Great Britain

Unless you get our agreement first, you may only train outside your main training organisation in one of two ways:

  • five days in ‘unlisted’ training sites (that is, a site that is not approved for pre-registration training)
  • four weeks in a listed training site

You can only do each of these things once in a training year without specifically agreeing it in advance as part of your training plan, or as part of your application to enter training.

2.14  Attendance requirements

If you are absent for more than 40 days during your pre-registration year – for whatever reason – you must tell the GPhC as this may affect your eligibility to sit the registration assessment or to register on a particular date. The 40-day limit includes public holidays, sickness and annual leave. For part-time training arrangements, the 40 days applies to the whole training period. If you are training part-time, you must have been in training for the equivalent of 39 weeks of full-time training. For example, if your training will take 104 calendar weeks to complete, you will need to have been in training for at least 78 weeks by the assessment entry deadline.

If you are absent for more than 40 days, you will need to complete additional training to be eligible to sit the registration assessment. You must have completed at least 39 weeks of training by the application entry deadline for the sitting. 

If you are absent for more than 40 days before your 39-week progress review, you should delay the review until you have worked the additional days that have been missed to have completed the equivalent of 39 weeks training.

If the revised date of your 39 week progress review is before the assessment entry deadline for that sitting and you are assessed as satisfactory, you could still meet the eligibility criteria for that sitting. Any additional absence after you have met the entry criteria will not affect your assessment eligibility, but you should refer to section 5.6.

In all cases, to meet the criteria for registration as a pharmacist, you must complete 52 weeks pre-registration training (during which you can be absent for up to 40 days). If you are absent for more than 40 days during the 52 weeks, you should complete an extra training day for each extra day of absence. This will affect the earliest date that you can register as a pharmacist, if your revised training end date passes the 1st or the 15th of the month (the days on which you can join the register). 

You must tell us of your new finish date by submitting a change of training details form, so that we can update your records.

2.15  Starting dates

There are two fixed dates in the training year:

  • the summer registration assessment, which is usually around the last week in June in the year after you began training
  • the autumn registration assessment, which is usually around the last week in September in the year after you began training

Because you must have been signed off as satisfactory at 39 weeks to be eligible to enter the assessment, you must start your training before a set date – which is set out on the key dates page.

If you have chosen to train part time, your latest starting dates will depend on your training arrangement. Contact us for confirmation of the dates that will apply to you.

2.16  Breaks in pre-registration training

If you have had a break in your training, contact us for confirmation of your starting deadline for any particular assessment sitting.

2.17  Your tutor

You must have a designated tutor – your pre-registration tutor – who must be approved by the GPhC. The tutor has the overall responsibility for you during your training and for signing you off as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Usually the tutor will only be responsible for one trainee at a time.

If your tutor’s previous trainee has not finished their training by the time you are due start yours, your tutor will be permitted to train two trainees for a maximum of 13 weeks – so you won’t need to wait until the previous trainee has finished before starting you placement.

Your tutor must have worked as a registered pharmacist for at least three years in the UK, in the sector of practice in which they plan to tutor you. If they are under investigation by the GPhC, they will be assessed for suitability under our pre-registration training tutor suitability policy. If you are aware of any conditions or restrictions on your tutor’s registration at any point before or during your training, contact us.

Your tutor is expected to meet with you at least once a fortnight to make sure you get regular feedback, and must carry out a formal review of your progress at 13, 26 and 39 weeks, and at the end of your training (by completing a 'final declaration', if applicable). See section 2.4 for more information about final declarations.

If your tutor cannot work full time with you (at least 28 hours over four days each week), we will consider approving more than one tutor to work with you. (This is called a ‘joint-tutoring arrangement’.) This must be approved in advance and will apply to all areas of practice.

If you are following an integrated, split or joint training programme, we expect there to be more than one GPhC approved tutor involved in your training. This could be either as part of a joint tutoring arrangement throughout the year, or as individual tutors for specified dates. It is important that this responsibility is shared in the case of joint tutors or handed over appropriately between tutors when they change over.

During the training year, you may be supervised for agreed periods by another healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist other than the designated tutor, a pharmacy technician or a nurse. These supervisors are called ‘practice supervisors’.

Your designated tutor is still responsible for you at all times, even when you are being supervised by a practice supervisor. Your designated tutor must know who is supervising you.

Our guidance on tutoring will help you understand what you can expect from your tutor. If you have any concerns about your tutor or their behaviour, contact us.

2.18 Changing tutors

Trainees may need to change tutors for a number of reasons. A tutor could leave a pharmacy, or personal or professional differences could develop between a trainee and tutor, for example.

If you change your tutor, please tell us using a change of training details form, and include your new learning contract. The new tutor must also meet GPhC requirements.

2.19  Your training site

Your training site must have been approved for the full period of your pre-registration training by the GPhC before you will be allowed to start your training. You can search the list of approved pre-registration training sites here.

If you are training at a site in Scotland, it is also covered by the quality-assurance processes of the NES Pre-registration pharmacist scheme (PRPS). Your application to train at one of these sites must be approved by NES before you submit it to the GPhC. NES will only approve your application for  that training year, so if your training was extended for any reason you would need to apply to them again.