Changes to pharmacist pre-registration training

25 May 2021

Changes for current trainees

The remaining registration assessment sittings in 2021 will take place on 27, 28 and 29 July 2021, and 16 November 2021. Sittings are usually held in June and September; this years’ dates are the earliest available where Pearson VUE test centres can accommodate the predicted number of candidates under the current social distancing guidelines.

The GPhC Council has agreed that provisional registration of pharmacists will be extended to January 2022, to enable trainees from the 2020/21 cohort to apply to join the provisional register once their training is satisfactorily completed, so that they can take up offers of employment at the same time as they usually would, from 1 August 2021.

The same eligibility criteria will apply to those wanting to join the provisional register in 2021. They will be able to join once they have successfully completed 52 weeks of training (including if they reach 52 weeks after they have sat the registration assessment). We hope this will mitigate some of the issues that delays to the registration assessment sittings may cause to trainees, employers and pharmacy services.

We will provide more information for trainees, employers, training providers and tutors in the coming month as trainees become eligible to apply for provisional registration. 

Implementing foundation training from July 2021

From this summer, we will be gradually making changes to the fifth year of education and training for pharmacists, as part of the implementation of the new standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists we published in January 2021.

The foundation training year will replace the current pre-registration training year from July 2021. From now on, pre-registration trainees will be known as trainee pharmacists and tutors will be known as designated supervisors. Learning outcomes replace the performance standards.

The implementation of these standards will transform the education and training of pharmacists, so they are able to play a much greater role in providing clinical care to patients and the public, including through being able to independently prescribe from the point of registration.

We are currently working with Health Education England (HEE), NHS Education Scotland (NES) and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), pharmacy schools and other key organisations to gradually implement changes to the foundation training year over the coming years.

We have carefully considered what changes can be implemented for the 2021/22 training year, taking into account the short period of time before it begins and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on training providers.

Learning outcomes for 2021/22 trainee pharmacists

The full set of learning outcomes for the foundation year include outcomes to enable annotation as an independent prescriber at the point of registration. We recognise that independent prescribing cannot be introduced immediately.

We have developed an interim version of the learning outcomes for trainees in the 2021/22 cohort, which will not require 2021 trainees to train as independent prescribers during their foundation training year. 

All training delivered for trainees in the 2021/22 cohort should be based on the interim learning outcomes. Training providers will need to make sure that regular progress reviews monitor the trainee’s progression against the learning outcomes, rather than the previous performance standards.

Training providers will need to update their plans to align them with interim learning outcomes, but do not need to re-submit training plans that have already been submitted to us for approval.
We have produced some helpful information and FAQ to support training providers to align their training plans with the interim learning outcomes, which are available on the Foundation training year page on our website. 

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