COVID-19 Q&A: for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians

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 22 December 2021.

Revalidation and renewal 

Pharmacy operations   

Supply of tests for COVID-19 from pharmacies (opens on a separate tab)

Revalidation and renewal

How many revalidation entries do I need to submit? 

Pharmacy professionals who have a registration renewal deadline on or before 31 May 2022 (and whose registration is due to expire on or before 31 July 2022) will only need to submit a reflective account when they renew their registration. They will not need to submit the other five revalidation records.

These changes to revalidation requirements were first introduced in March 2020 in recognition of the pressures on pharmacy professionals during the pandemic. The changes were then extended until at least 1 March 2022, and we committed to keeping the situation under review.

We have extended the changes to our revalidation requirements again for pharmacy professionals with renewal deadlines on or before 31 May 2022 in recognition of the continuing pressures linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the Omicron variant, that pharmacy professionals are facing this winter.

Our current intention is to resume full revalidation once the emergency powers for the pandemic introduced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care are removed, but we will continue to keep this under active review.

We will give pharmacy professionals a minimum of three months’ notice of when full revalidation requirements will be reintroduced, to give pharmacists and pharmacy professionals a reasonable amount of time to get their records ready for submission. 

Please note that your myGPhC account will indicate that you will need to submit six revalidation records until your renewal window opens a month before your renewal date. Please disregard this; once your renewal window opens, myGPhC will then update to show that you only need to submit your reflective account.

You may find the myGPhC system will not let you submit your reflective account until you make a declaration about a peer discussion. You do not need to submit a peer discussion, so please tick 'yes' on the declaration to over-ride this.

What standards do I need to reflect on?

Pharmacy professionals are still expected to reflect on one or more of the following three standards when completing their reflective account:

  • standard 3 - pharmacy professionals must communicate effectively
  • standard 6 - pharmacy professionals must behave professionally
  • standard 9 - pharmacy professionals must demonstrate leadership

We would encourage pharmacy professionals to reflect on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic when completing their reflective account, although this is not essential.

What should I do if I cannot submit the entries that are required?  

If you do not feel you are able to submit the reduced submission of one reflective account by your revalidation submission deadline, you will need to complete an exceptional circumstances request on your myGPhC account. 

We will only consider exceptional circumstances if you can provide evidence to show you have not been able to practise between 10 – 12 months of your registration year.

We will not usually consider exceptional circumstances where your reason is due to the demands on your practice due to the pandemic. 

Am I still required to renew my registration, and do I need to still pay the full registration fee?

You will need to make the required declarations and pay the fee to renew your registration. Your renewal is due two months before your registration expiry date. 
If you have a direct debit set up, please refer to your renewal notice for the date by which you need to make your fitness to practise declarations by.       

Pharmacy operations

What should I do if I have concerns about an unplanned temporary closure of a community pharmacy?

The responsible pharmacist, superintendent pharmacist or pharmacy owner has to notify the relevant NHS organisation if a pharmacy has to close unexpectedly during its contracted opening hours. The NHS organisation would be:

  • NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) regional teams in England
  • The local NHS Board community pharmacy team in Scotland
  • The Local Health Board community pharmacy team and NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership in Wales

There may be particular arrangements in place for pharmacy closures during the COVID-19 pandemic; the relevant NHSE&I regional team in England, the local NHS Board Community Pharmacy Team in Scotland and Community Pharmacy Wales should be able to advise you on any arrangements in place.

Any concerns about temporary pharmacy closures (for whatever reason) should be reported to the relevant NHS organisation who will look into this as appropriate. We do not have a direct role in relation to temporary pharmacy closures. Our focus in regulating pharmacies is on patient safety and whether a pharmacy is operating safely and effectively. Where a pharmacy has to temporarily close, we would expect the pharmacy to make sure that they have made arrangements so that patients can get the medicines and pharmaceutical care they need. It is important that the pharmacy also communicates these plans to appropriate stakeholders and to the relevant NHS organisations.