COVID-19 Q&A: for professionals on or wishing to join the temporary register

We have compiled answers to the questions we are being asked in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Categorised by theme, use the links below to navigate to the relevant section. 

Last reviewed 12 November 2020.

Joining the temporary register

Practical considerations

Information for employers   

Joining the temporary register

I'm a pharmacist or pharmacy technician who voluntarily removed myself from our register, or decided not to renew my registration. Can I join the register so that I can practise during the outbreak of COVID-19?

In an emergency, we have powers under the Pharmacy Order 2010 to temporarily register fit, proper and suitably experienced people to act as pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to help protect public health.

Read our policy on temporary registration arrangements [PDF 156 KB]

The temporary register includes pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have voluntarily removed themselves from the GPhC register or were removed for non-renewal in the last three years.

 You can email if you would like to join the temporary register.

What are the requirements for temporary registrants?

Anyone who is entered temporarily on the register will be required to meet the standards for pharmacy professionals and have the appropriate indemnity insurance.

I’m an overseas pharmacist and would like to come and work in the UK during the pandemic. Can I join the temporary register?

The following advice is subject to any travel restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19.

If you are an EEA qualified pharmacist, under EU legislation EEA qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can work in the UK on a temporary and occasional basis.

You would not make a full application for registration as required by the General Pharmaceutical Council Registration Rules, and therefore cannot be registered in either Part 1 or Part 2 of the register. Instead, you could be entered in Part 4 of our register.

You can find out more about temporary and occasional provision in the registration section of our website.

If you are a overseas pharmacist from outside the EEA, you would have to meet our requirements for registration, which include an OSPAP course, before being eligible for registration, so you would not be able to come and work as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician immediately. You could however apply for other roles within the health and care service that do not require registration.

We have conducted a survey to help us understand how many pharmacy professionals on the temporary register will be working during the pandemic, and what settings they are planning to work in. We have received 1,309 responses to the survey (a 21% response rate). Follow this link to see the report's findings. [PDF 252 KB]  

Practical considerations

How can I find out about practical details about deployment, pay and pensions?

If you are interested in working as a pharmacy professional during the emergency, please also visit the following websites for further information about issues including deployment, pay, pensions or indemnity insurance:

  • NHS England and NHS Improvement website
  • Scottish Government website
  • Welsh Government website

How will the temporary register work in practice?

The temporary register is available on our website and is separate from the main register.

We are contacting those who have been added to the temporary register via email to let them know that they now have temporary registration and explain what they need to consider if they do want to practise during the emergency.

We will provide updates on any developments via our website, so please keep checking the homepage for more information.

And we will signpost to information provided by the NHS and other organisations which will provide answers to questions about practical arrangements for employment.

Will I have to pay a fee to go back onto the register?

No, you will not have to pay any fee to temporarily return to the register.

Can I help without being in a directly patient-facing role?

Yes. We understand there will be opportunities for non-patient facing roles, such as working with NHS 111. Please visit the NHS website in your country for further details.

Will I be expected to complete records for revalidation, if I am called to assist with the pandemic?

We understand this is an unprecedented situation that is highly challenging. We do not expect pharmacy professionals who have been placed on the temporary register to carry out and record revalidation activities.

Can you provide any refresher training to help me prepare to go back into practice?

Please contact the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education, which has produced a specfic guide is to support pharmacy professionals in returning to pharmacy practice via the temporary register, Health Education and Improvement Wales or NHS Education for Scotland, depending on which country you live in, as they can signpost you to relevant training and resources.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has produced guidance for pharmacy workforce about COVID-19 which you may find useful if you are returning to practice.

Do I need to send in an application or provide documents before I can re-join the register?

You will not need to apply to the GPhC for registration or provide any documents to us.

We would add anyone eligible for temporary registration who has not opted out after an emergency is declared. Your employer would carry out identity checks, and may also ask for other documentation.

What would happen if a fitness to practise concern was raised about me while I was practising on the temporary register?

Where a concern is raised about a pharmacy professional with temporary registration, it will be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working and the risk to patient and public safety. We will also take account of any relevant information about resource, guidelines or protocols in place at the time.

The fitness to practise concern process for temporary registrants

We will quickly assess the nature and extent of the risk to patient safety. This will be done by undertaking a swift and thorough review of the available evidence to understand the seriousness of the concern and if there is a real risk to patients. We will assess whether the professional is able to carry out their role safely and effectively or whether continuing to allow temporary registration would undermine trust and confidence in the professions.

Once we have reviewed the evidence, we will administratively remove a professional with temporary registration if the evidence suggests that removal is:

  • necessary to protect the public
  • otherwise in the public interest
  • in the interests of the pharmacy professional

Administrative removal means that the registrar will immediately remove the person from the temporary register and they will no longer be able to practise as a pharmacy professional.

If we decide to not administratively remove then the professional will be eligible to remain in practice until the need for temporary professionals passes and they are removed with all others.

Find out more about how we will deal with concerns about pharmacy professionals with temporary registration in our guidance.

How long will the temporary register last?

There is currently no end date for the temporary register as this depends when on the State of Emergency which enables our emergency powers comes to an end. We will contact all those on the temporary register to inform them in advance of the date of its termination once a date is agreed.

In the meantime, if you want your name to be removed from the temporary register, you can fill in a survey to tell us you want to leave.

Information for employers

I’m an employer - what do I need to do if I want to employ someone on the temporary register?

If you are a pharmacy owner or employer, when employing a pharmacy professional on the temporary register, you must make sure:

  • the person’s name appears on the temporary register
  • you carry out appropriate identity checks for all staff they employ
  • all staff have the right knowledge, skills and competence for their role and the tasks they carry out, including in relation to their English language skills
  • all staff have appropriate indemnity insurance for the tasks they carry out, including pharmacy professionals on the temporary register
  • all staff they employ are fit to practise in that particular role

We have produced guidance for employers on their responsibilities [PDF 169 KB] if they employ a pharmacy professional on the temporary register.

Information on how we will manage concerns about professionals with temporary registration is available here[PDF 164 KB]