If you employ a pharmacist (or a pharmacy technician), you must first check that they are registered as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician with the GPhC.
On 31 December 2020, the Brexit transition period comes to an end. This follows the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU). From 1 January 2021, the registration process for some pharmacists and pharmacy technicians with non-UK qualifications will change, and you may need to check additional information to employ pharmacy professionals from the EEA.
Employing temporary registrants during the COVID-19 emergency
If you are considering employing a pharmacy professional on our temporary register, make sure you have read our guidance for employers and pharmacy owners, which sets out your responsibilities.
Employing a provisionally-registered pharmacist
If you are considering employing a provsionally-registered pharmacist, we have set out the essential regulatory requirements you must meet in Employing a provisionally-registered pharmacist [PDF 484.34 KB]
The owner of a retail pharmacy business must appoint a Responsible Pharmacist who is a registered pharmacist, to be in charge of the registered pharmacy. The Responsible Pharmacist’s role is to secure the safe and effective running of the registered pharmacy when it is operational. The pharmacy owner must ensure that there are arrangements in place for an RP to be appointed.
English language skills
From 21 November 2016, all applicants and registrants have to provide evidence that they have the necessary knowledge of English language for safe and effective practice. The evidence must comply with our guidance on providing evidence of English language skills.
Please be aware that our requirements concerning evidence of English language skills do not replace the very important role that you as employers will continue to play in checking that the pharmacy professionals you wish to employ for a particular role are competent to carry out that role and have the necessary knowledge of English to practise safely and effectively, as part of your interview and selection processes.
Temporary and occasional service provision
Under EU legislation EEA qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can work in the UK on a temporary and occasional basis. They do 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 these pharmacists are entered in Part 4 of our register and pharmacy technicians in Part 5.
What do we mean by temporary and occasional services?
In the UK, temporary and occasional service provision is governed by The European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015, which gives effect to Directive 2005/36/EC.
In order to be eligible for temporary and occasional service provision, European qualified pharmacy professionals must be:
- a national of a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland or hold European Community rights
- currently established and allowed to practise as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician without restriction in another EEA country or Switzerland
- intending to be present in the UK to provide pharmacy services on both a temporary and occasional basis
- is not a permanent or fixed term contract or agreement to provide services on:
a regular basis
a frequent basis
a continuous basis
is not for an indefinite period.
is not regular
is not frequent
is not continuous.
What constitutes temporary and occasional practice is assessed on a case-by-case basis against the combined criteria of:
duration: the time the service takes to perform
frequency: the rate of occurrence, which may be the interval between visits to provide temporary and occasional services in the UK
regularity: how regular the service provision is, and whether it is constant or at fixed intervals
continuity: whether the services are provided in a continuous period or sporadically over a period of time
Examples of the kind of provision of services that might be considered temporary and occasional include:
- providing services for a sports team by visiting the UK sporadically and infrequently
- undertaking services for a short period of time in cases of a national emergency
Although cases are considered on a case by case basis, if you use the services of a European qualified pharmacy professional to provide locum pharmacy services in the UK frequently and on a regular basis over a continuous period of time during the year when there is no longer a national emergency such as the COVID-19 emergency, then it is likely that this practice does not meet the criteria for being temporary and occasional and the European pharmacy professional would be required to make a full application for registration to join either part 1 of part 2 of the register as relevant.
Applying to provide temporary and occasional services
European qualified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can make an application to provide temporary and occasional services by completing a declaration of their intention to do so. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the declaration form and return this together with supporting documents. The GPhC will verify and authenticate the declaration and all supporting documents before confirming the pharmacy professional’s entitlement to provide temporary and occasional services and entering the individual’s name on either part 4 or 5 of the register.
Legislation however provides an alternative process for European qualified pharmacists. They can apply for a European Professional Card (EPC) for temporary and occasional service provision via the Internal Market Information (IMI) System. IMI is a web based application portal provided by the European Commission. Follow this link for more information on the EPC and the application process.
If a European pharmacist chooses to apply via the IMI system their documents are not verified and authenticated by the GPhC but by their home EEA member state competent authority who is also responsible for issuing the EPC to the European qualified pharmacist. No checks of the pharmacist’s identity, qualifications or fitness to practise can be carried out by the GPhC. If the EEA member state competent authority issues a ‘valid’ EPC for temporary and occasional services to a European qualified pharmacist, the holder is entitled to provide temporary and occasional services in the UK and the GPhC gives effect to this entitlement by entering the pharmacist’s name in part 4 of the register.
What does this mean to you as an employer?
If a European qualified pharmacist presents you with a European Professional Card for temporary service provision indicating that they are entitled to provide temporary and occasional services in the UK you must check that the individual is registered in Part 4 of the register.
You can find a pdf of the names of EEA qualified pharmacists entered in Part 4 of the register. This tells you whether the named individual was entered on the basis of an EPC issued by their European Competent authority with no GPhC validation of documents or whether they were entered following validation of their declaration and all supporting documents by the GPhC.
If you cannot find the pharmacist’s name in Part 4 of the register please contact email@example.com before you employ the individual to provide temporary and occasional pharmacy services.
You can find a pdf of the names of EEA qualified pharmacy technicians entered in Part 5 of the register. All individuals have been entered following validation of their declaration and all supporting documents by the GPhC.
If you cannot find the pharmacy technician’s name in Part 5 of the register please contact firstname.lastname@example.org before you employ the individual to provide temporary and occasional pharmacy services.
Employers employing pharmacy professionals as temporary and occasional service providers must:
- Carry out normal pre-employment checks - for example, checking the professional’s identity, their knowledge of the English language and that they have the relevant skills, experience and qualifications they need for the specific role
- Check with your indemnity provider that the temporary and occasional services they are to provide are covered under your indemnity arrangements
- Contact email@example.com if you believe the pharmacy professional is no longer working on a temporary and occasional basis.
European pharmacists registered in Part 4 of the register as temporary and occasional pharmacy services providers cannot:
- own a registered pharmacy (as a pharmacist owner or as one partner of a partnership);
- act as superintendent pharmacist for a body corporate owning registered pharmacy premises; or
- act as a supplementary or independent prescriber