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GPhC and PSNI to introduce a common registration examination for pharmacists in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Councils of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have agreed to introduce a common registration examination for pharmacists in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The decision follows a consultation earlier this year by the PSNI which proposed joining a common four country registration assessment, based on the GPhC’s current approach with input from the PSNI. Having considered the outcome of the consultation, on the 26 November 2019 the PSNI’s Council agreed to proceed with its proposal, subject to the agreement of the GPhC’s Council. The GPhC Council has today (5 December) also agreed the proposal.

The first sitting of the common registration assessment will take place in June 2021. From this sitting onwards, the registration assessment will be set by a single Board of Assessors, which will report to the councils of both regulators. It will test the application of pharmaceutical knowledge and numeracy relevant to current pharmacy practice in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

There will be a common syllabus and format, described in a common Registration Assessment Framework. The papers will include questions written and standard-set by pharmacists practising in all four countries of the UK.

Commenting Trevor Paterson, Pharmaceutical Society NI Chief Executive said:

“This work builds on our very successful Memorandum of Understanding with the GPhC and will deliver a modernised and proportionate conclusion to the pre-registration year which we have delivered for many years.  We will now begin delivery of a comprehensive implementation and communication plan to ensure all those affected are informed and fully prepared for the improvements.”

Duncan Rudkin, GPhC Chief Executive, said:

“We already work closely with the PSNI in relation to the education and training of pharmacists. This move to a common registration assessment will further strengthen these links between day one practice of pharmacists in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We look forward to continuing to work with the PSNI to successfully implement this change.” 

The PSNI and GPhC will now engage directly with the groups affected by this change, including MPharm students in Northern Ireland currently studying in Year 4, who will sit the first common paper in June 2021, as well as pre-registration training providers and tutors and the schools of pharmacy in Northern Ireland.