2.1 The aim of pre-registration training
To become a pharmacist, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge (by passing the registration assessment) and experience (developed during the pre-registration year) needed to practise as a pharmacist.
When mistakes happen, professionalism can be tested. But in the end we believe professional practice offers the best protection for patients and people who use pharmacy services.
The pre-registration training placement gives you the chance to apply your academic knowledge in a real-life situation. The aim is for you to develop and demonstrate the skills, knowledge and behaviours you need to practise to the standards expected of a pharmacist, and in a way that delivers the best outcome for patients and members of the public.
2.2 GPhC’s Standards for pharmacy professionals
The standards for pharmacy professionals are relevant to you (and to all students and trainees) while you are on your journey towards registration and practice.
These standards explain the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that will be expected of students and trainees if they apply to join the Register. You should use them as a tool to help you prepare for registration, and read them alongside other relevant documents that are provided by your education and training provider.
The public expects pharmacists to be competent and fit to practise pharmacy. We set standards that pharmacy professionals are expected to meet if they are to become registered and stay registered.
Demonstrating that you have kept to our standards is part of the registration process. You will spend at least 26 weeks working in a patient-facing role in a community or hospital pharmacy, and everything you do during this time (and throughout your training) should show that you are keeping to our standards.
If you are not able to show that you have kept to these standards it could affect your eligibility to register – even if you are signed off by your tutor and pass the registration assessment.
We have guidance which tells you more about our standards and supports all pharmacy professionals in practising safely and effectively. You can find:
- guidance about confidentiality,
- guidance about consent,
- raising concerns, and about other topics related to the standards on our website.
2.3 The professional duty of candour
2.3.1 Duty of candour to patients
Health professionals must be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care which causes, or has the potential to cause, harm or distress. This is known as ‘the duty of candour’.
This means that healthcare professionals must:
- tell the patient (or the patient's advocate, carer or family if this is appropriate) when something has gone wrong
- apologise to the patient (or the patient's advocate, carer or family if this is appropriate)
- offer an appropriate remedy or support to put matters right where possible, and explain fully to the patient the long- and short-term effects of what has happened (or explain to the patient's advocate, carer or family if this is appropriate).
We work with other regulators, employers and commissioners of services to help develop a culture in which the principles of openness and honesty are shared and acted on.
We expect and encourage all registrants to reflect on their own learning and continuing professional development needs concerning the duty of candour.
2.3.2 Duty of candour to others
Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their colleagues, employers and other relevant organisations, and take part in reviews and investigations when they are asked to. They must support and encourage each other to be open and honest and not stop someone from raising concerns.
Healthcare professionals must also be open and honest with their regulators, raising concerns when this is appropriate.
If you are raising a concern about someone or something at your place of work, read our guidance for whistleblowers.
2.4 Tutor assessments (‘sign offs’)
Many trainees worry so much about the registration assessment that they do not focus enough on their training. Under the pre-registration scheme, you will need to be signed off by your tutor four times – at 13, 26, 39 and 52 weeks.
You are not eligible to sit the registration assessment unless you get a satisfactory progress report 3 on your performance standards at 39 weeks. Therefore, getting the most out of your pre-registration year is every bit as important as passing the registration assessment.
The week-52 sign-off is called the ‘final declaration’. Your tutor needs to be sure that you are competent in all areas of practice before they are able to sign off the final declaration. If any areas of your performance raise doubt that this is the case, we would not expect your tutor to sign your final declaration. If this happens, you may have to complete an extra 26 weeks’ training somewhere else – unless your employer is able to extend your present training placement.
Your tutor can, if they feel it is appropriate, sign off the 52-week declaration from week 49 onwards. But they should only do so if they feel that you have met the required standard, not because you want to register on a particular date. Once the tutor signs the declaration, they are not able to revoke it. This means that if you do not preform to the required standard after you have been signed off, this would be considered as a fitness to practice concern.
It is up to you to make the most of your pre-registration year and develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours you will need to work independently as a professional pharmacist.
2.5 What are the key points in the pre-registration year?
The timeline below shows when you need to make contact with the GPhC. You can send scanned copies of most of the forms to us by email, but you will need to send hard copies of some documents to support your registration application, which you must complete on myGPhC. We recommend that you keep a copy of anything that you send us.
2.6 The learning contract
Your tutor plays a key role in your training year. If you would like to find out more about their role, go to the tutor section on our website.
You enter into a learning contract with your tutor as part of your application to join the pre-registration scheme. The contract summarises how your training year will be delivered and must include:
- your details
- your tutor’s details
- details of where your training will take place
- how you will be supervised
If your tutor changes during the training year, you will need to enter into a new learning contract. So that we can review and approve the change, you must send us the new contract and a Change of Training details form. The change will only be recognised once we have received the form and approved the change.
2.7 Your pre-registration number
You will be given a unique pre-registration number, which is printed on your welcome letter. This is the reference number you should quote if you contact us. Your training record is also included with your welcome letter, which you can download from myGPhC.
If you find any mistakes on your training record, you are responsible for telling us about them. If you do not, this could mean that we are not able to recognise your training, which could affect when you are able to sit the registration assessment.
Your training record displayed in myGPhC is not able to be updated. If you do need tell us about any changes, make sure you email or phone the Contact Centre. We will send you an updated training record to confirm these.
If your personal details change during the year, including if you change your name, you should send us a Change of Details form so that we can update your record.