COVID-19 Q&A: for MPharm and OSPAP students

Over the past few months we have compiled answers to all the questions we are being asked in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. We have categorised these by theme, use the links below to navigate to each of the pages.

We review this questions and answers page regularly. Last reviewed 20 July 2020.

Volunteering during the pandemic

Pre-registration information


I’m a Master of Sciences of Pharmacy (MPharm) or Overseas Pharmacy Assessment Programme (OSPAP) student. Can I start work or volunteer at a pharmacy?

It’s important that you prioritise sitting any assessments and finishing your academic work, as you will need to complete your qualification to be eligible to start pre-registration training. Please consider your academic commitments carefully before deciding if and when you could work or volunteer at a pharmacy.

Make sure that you are fully aware of and understand the risks of working within a healthcare environment during this period, both for you and the people you live with, and make sure that you follow government guidelines.

To find a role, contact the relevant organisation for your country:

In England, you can register your interest through the HEE Pharmacy Student COVID-19 Deployment Survey which is available on the Health Education England website.

In Scotland, student recruitment for support with COVID-19 is being organised through the NHS national recruitment portal for hospital and community sectors.

In Wales, you can register your interest through the COVID Hub Wales.

Your employer should make sure that the activities you carry out are:

  • properly described in a contract of employment, honorary contract, or volunteer agreement
  • appropriate to your level of experience and training: you should not be asked to work beyond your competence
  • properly supervised by a designated manager or supervisor.

Working or volunteering where you plan to train

If you have a pre-registration training place arranged for the 2020/21 pre-registration year, you may be considering contacting your training organisation to see if you can start working there earlier than planned.

The earliest date you can start your approved pre-registration training placement and start following your training plan is 13 July 2020. Any time you spend at your placement before this date will not count towards your official training time.


Pre-registration information

Why has the opening date for the application for the pre-registration training scheme changed to 1 June 2020? Does this mean that the training year will be delayed?

We have changed the application opening date to 1 June as we understand that due to the pandemic, some pre-registration trainees may need to change their training arrangements, such as their start date.

To avoid applicants having to make changes to their training details after submitting their application, which could delay the process, we are opening the application later this year.

The earliest date you can start your training is 13 July 2020 – this has not changed. We advise you to check your agreed start and finish dates with your training provider before submitting your application.

If you provide all the information in the correct format, and there are no issues with your application, we will be able to process and confirm your online application in good time for you to start your training.