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Home  »   Coronavirus (COVID-19)PDA Trainee Pharmacist   »   PDA send second Covid-19 update letter to trainee pharmacist (called pre-reg until end of summer 2021) members

PDA send second Covid-19 update letter to trainee pharmacist (called pre-reg until end of summer 2021) members

Below is the second Covid-19 letter that went to PDA trainee pharmacist (called pre-reg until end of summer 2021) members.

Tue 28th April 2020 The PDA


Dear (trainee pharmacist member)

On March 28th, you received a terrible shock as the regulators announced the postponement of the registration exam due to coronavirus.

A PDA survey completed by hundreds of trainee pharmacists confirmed the strength of feeling. 96% want more clarity on their future; 90% want a different approach for the 2020 trainee pharmacist assessment.

What happened this year must never happen again.

Yesterday, the GPhC provided more information, but have not yet confirmed the final plan as they are still wrestling with the complexity.

Through ‘provisional registration’, allowing those eligible to join the register in August of this year, you will be able to start your work as a pharmacist, even though you have not taken a registration exam. You may still be required to take an exam later on; we currently expect this to be in January 2021.

When I wrote to you on April 3rd, I promised that we would let the regulator know that if you are on the front line on the war against coronavirus, you will not have the time to prepare for a re-run of the traditional registration assessment. We believe that any new assessment needs to give credit to your new context, that of being an active and valuable practitioner.

The GPhC letter confirmed that they are looking at the format of the future registration exam but they also said that they:

“..will now continue to work closely with our partners to develop these proposals further.  This includes determining the criteria and process to become provisionally registered, and the structured support and requirements that trainees will need to have in place to practise safely.”

The PDA will continue to lobby the regulator on your behalf and seek further clarity on the issues you have raised. Some of the most frequently asked questions from trainee pharmacists and our initial answers are:

Will the GPhC want to assess our experiences during the ‘trainee pharmacist’ period?

The regulator has not given us the answer to this question yet, but we will use the next few months to inform their thinking.

What happens to my indemnity insurance if I am provisionally registered?

As a trainee pharmacist PDA member, you have enjoyed free professional indemnity and legal defence costs insurance and traditionally, this benefit is extended for the first three months of your ‘trainee pharmacist’ period. We hope to improve this once we know more about the registration process.

Will the employers take advantage of my trainee pharmacist status?

The expert team of lawyers and pharmacist union officials at the PDA will have no hesitation in supporting you. We have a good track record, in the last year, we secured around £1 million in compensation for our members from employers who treated them unfairly or illegally.

Your overall objective is summed up in a survey comment left by one pre-reg;

“We just want equal opportunities and fairness and to progress in our careers as pharmacists, like all other professions.”

For years, the PDA’s call for the pharmacy education system to be in line with that of doctors has been resisted by some of the largest community pharmacist employers. The learning journey for doctors involves a structured quality system split between a teaching hospital and a GP training practice. In the community pharmacy setting, there are no training grades; no skills and salary frameworks and no integrated five-year course.

Due to this systemic failure, pharmacy regulators were unable to take the same approach as the regulators of other health professions. This is compounded by the cynical unpreparedness of some employers to treat pharmacists as healthcare professionals.

At the PDA we listening carefully to your views and concerns; our survey remains open for feedback and we are developing further ways that you can provide direct input into this transformation. The next step in this process is our webinar, 7:30pm on Wednesday 29th of April. Register for our webinar below by 12 noon tomorrow.

We will continue to push the regulator to ensure that your first six months as a trainee pharmacist leading up to your future assessment, will be a professionally affirming experience, taking the load away from the final registration exam. The PDA will support you through this process and we will continue to update you on progress.

Above all, together we will make sure that the sacrifices that you will have made and the transformation that your experiences will lead to, will benefit generations of pharmacists in the future.

Kindest regards

Yours sincerely,

Mark Koziol M.R.Pharm.S.

PDA Chairman

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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