PDA will continue to support exam candidates and future pharmacists

The PDA has once again adjusted their membership categories to ensure that they will be able to support all exam candidates, whatever the outcome and whenever they sit their assessment.

Tue 27th April 2021 The PDA

Last summer, the GPhC introduced the provisional register and created a new role of provisional pharmacists. As soon as the decision was announced, the PDA reviewed their available membership arrangements to ensure that the defence association and trade union benefits that the former pre-registration pharmacists now required, were in place.

This year the cohort (prov-regs, pre-regs/trainees and re-sitters) will be receiving results from the three potential assessment sittings (March, July and November 2021) creating a whole new set of possible scenarios on each occasion, beginning with the results to be announced for those who sat in March 2021 this Thursday 29 April.

In addition, most, but not all of the next cohort of pre-reg trainees will also become provisional pharmacists for at least a few months from this summer, due to the revised exam dates, resulting in another unexpected landscape of potential pharmacists with membership needs.

The PDA team have once again, reviewed their membership arrangements, adjusting internal systems and due to the type of indemnity and defence provided by the PDA, undertaking significant work with underwriters, to ensure that whether a provisional registrant, a pre-reg/trainee or a re-sitter, there is a PDA membership policy right for them, to bring peace of mind and protection at any point in their career journey.

Student and “Pre-reg” membership is FREE

PDA membership for undergraduate pharmacy students is FREE. Supporting future pharmacists with free student membership continues to be a key objective for the PDA. FREE membership is also given to the incoming cohort of the current year 4 students who will be the first to have the PDA’s “trainee pharmacist” membership category which will replace the “pre-reg” category from 2021 to match the changes of nomenclature of the “pre-reg” status under the GPhC’s new Initial Education and Training (IET) programme.

Potential Pharmacists

There are a variety of circumstances in which individuals may find themselves no longer a student and not on a pre-reg/trainee structured programme and working towards becoming a pharmacist soon. For example:

  • Waiting to resit the exam after a previous attempt
  • Not signed off from the pre-reg/trainee training in time to become a provisional registrant, but achieved sign off at a later date
  • Signed off from the pre-reg/trainee programme and have chosen not to register as a provisional registrant.

The PDA calls these individuals “potential pharmacists” to differentiate them from those currently on a formal training programme. The PDA has created a membership category to support them. The membership benefits match those of pre-reg /trainee pharmacists.

Newly Qualified (NQ) membership

The PDA has for many years provided up to 3 months FREE membership for those who have newly qualified (successfully passed their assessment examination) to cover them from August to October. This has helped to alleviate the financial pressure for registrants at a time when they are paying the costs of an exam and registration. Due to the changes to exam and results dates, the PDA has adjusted this arrangement, to allow those who pass at any time of the year, to apply for the NQ membership category and benefit from up to 3 months FREE membership.

First-year Qualified (FY) membership

Following newly qualified membership, PDA members (other than those in GP practice) can renew as a first-year qualified member for a reduced price of just £99 for their first full year of membership. This originally covered membership from November to Novovember only. However, due to the changes to the exam and subsequent results dates, the PDA will now allow those who pass at any time of the year to apply for this membership category.

What to do about your membership if you passed the assessment

  • If you are on a pre-reg membership, because you were not working as a provisional pharmacist, you should apply before 31 May 2021 for the FREE newly qualified policy which will be valid until 31 July 2021.
  • If you are already working as a provisional pharmacist and therefore on a first-year qualified policy, you do not need to take any action now, unless you work in GP practice. When you renew your annual membership, you will need to apply for the relevant policy at that time, as a pharmacist.
  • Due to the increased indemnity risk in GP practice, if you work in GP practice, after 31 May you should apply for the relevant GP practice policy.

What to do about your membership if you did not pass the assessment

  • You do not need to take any action now. You will have access to PDA Education’s support for your future assessment re-sit.
  • If you have still not yet passed the exam by the time your annual membership is due for a renewal, please renew as a potential pharmacist. Your membership will once again be FREE.
  • Please also see our article on appeals.

Not yet a member?

If you passed

  • If you passed the assessment but are not yet a PDA member and join before 31 May 2021, you should apply for the FREE newly qualified policy which will be valid until 31 July 2021.
  • If you delay joining until after 30 May, you have until 1 April 2022 to apply for the £99 first-year qualified membership which is valid for one year (except those working in GP practice).
  • Due to the increased indemnity risk in GP practice, if you work in GP practice, after 31 May you should apply for the relevant GP practice membership.

If you did not pass

  • Join the PDA as a potential pharmacist. Membership is FREE and includes access to PDA Education’s support for your future assessment re-sit.
  • Please also see our article on appeals.

In Northern Ireland, where the PSNI managed to continue with in-person exams and did not create the provisional registration, PDA members are continuing in the established processes that existed pre-pandemic and these too are catered for by the PDA arrangements. Like Great Britain, the pre-reg category is being replaced by a “trainee pharmacist” category this summer.

Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, pre-regs and for the first three months of being provisionally registered/newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.






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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