GHP Statement for support of provisionally registered pharmacists

26th February 2021

Dear Employer,

Throughout the pandemic, thousands of provisional pharmacists have been working tirelessly, supporting Pharmacy and wider healthcare teams, as we provide for our patients during this crisis.  They have consistently demonstrated that they can work as competent and reliable professional members of our workforce in their support for patients in both hospital and GP practice, as well as in a community pharmacy setting. 

Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) members, both provisionally registered and qualified, have raised concerns about the potential lack of employer support for provisionally registered pharmacists should they be unsuccessful in the March sitting of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) assessment.

The GPhC guidance enabled all eligible to join the provisional register for a 12 month period from July 2020 until July 2021.  Provisional registration was granted with the understanding that candidates would successfully sit the GPhC assessment during this time period.  However, if provisional pharmacists are unsuccessful at the March sitting (the first opportunity to sit the assessment), those affected will be unable to resume working as provisional registrants.  Instead, they must wait until the next opportunity to sit the assessment – this will be summer 2021.  This may mean a delay for candidates of 2-3 months from the exam results to the next exam sitting.

In 2019, the last time the GPhC registration exam was undertaken, the pass rate was 72%.  Despite their increased experience and obvious competence in practice, there is no guarantee that there will be an improvement in the pass rate for this cohort, given the additional pressures which provisional pharmacists have faced this year, as well as the overhanging threat of loss of income should they fail at this last hurdle.

We are asking all employers to extend their employment for provisionally registered pharmacists until they have an opportunity to re-sit the registration examination in summer 2021.

We understand that there is an option in place for candidates to declare themselves not ‘fit to sit’, but we believe it is only fair that all candidates should be supported should they choose to sit the March exam, given the length of time they have had to wait to sit it. We have reports that some hospital trusts in England have devised local agreements to extend the employment of all candidates who are unsuccessful in the March assessment to work as a Pre-Registration Pharmacist at AfC band 5 until they successfully re-sit their examination in summer 2021. This will provide employers with a viable way to extend employment without formal registration.

We believe that with the support of their employers and colleagues in the profession, provisional pharmacists, who have already shown the enormous value they offer to patients throughout the pandemic, will be able to join the professional register.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Callum Garner, Early Careers Pharmacist                                                      

Kay Fenwick, Chair of Education & Training, Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists

 Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists

Download this statement

GHP statement in support of the COVID-19 vaccination programmes across the UK and the role of the Pharmacist

Dear all

We know that this has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone in the NHS – both at work and at home.  Now we have a National Vaccination programme to implement safely in order to support the UK population to slowly regain some “normality” in time.  As a committee, the GHP Council are supporting the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns now taking place across the UK, and we urge our members to support these initiatives in whatever way that you can.  

This has been a complex process to facilitate safely, and a number of different legal mechanisms exist to support this in the range of NHS and non-NHS bodies that are engaging in vaccination across the UK. There may be a range of ways employers choose to roll out the vaccination of staff and others, whether on NHS sites or in other centres.  We want to support our members to engage safely in the vaccination programmes, and we have used the informationprovided centrally from the NHS, to highlight some things to consider when you are involved in a vaccination programme at your place of work. Find our statement here.  

Wishing you, and your families, a peaceful festive period. 

Thanks, Roisin 

(on behalf of the GHP Council) 

Dr. Roisin O’Hare Bsc(hons) PGCHET MSc DPharm MPSNI(IP) FFRPSLead Teacher Practitioner Pharmacist, NI Universities Network /Cardiology Pharmacist, Southern Health and Social Care Trust
President, Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP). 

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Statement of support for the PRINCIPLE trial

The GHP are delighted to share this statement of support for the PRINCIPLE trial.

It is essential that we work together to identify treatments which will help hinder the progression of the disease and to reduce the need for hospital admissions.

PRINCIPLE, is a national trial led by researchers at the University of Oxford, including leading Pharmacist, Dr Mahendra Patel. It is investigating a number of treatment strategies to manage the symptoms of COVID-19.

The trial is evaluating medication which is well known and has been used for many years around the world for a number of conditions, to good effect. The objective is to determine if the treatment, when given to those at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, helps to reduce the need for hospitalisation, length of stay required, or if helps patients recover quicker.
PRINCIPLE is looking for volunteers who are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms to participate in their treatment trial. To help the fight against COVID-19 and for more information on joining the trial, visit

Statement to all Provisional Pharmacists

The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) would like to extend a warm welcome to the profession. Congratulations on reaching this stage of your Pharmacy training thus far. As you are already aware, the aim of provisional registration is to support and enable you to use your education and training to support NHS services and provide patient care effectively, while maintaining standards for entry to the register and protecting patient safety. Please refer to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) website for more information. Being newly registered brings many new and exciting responsibilities with a lot to organise. Have you thought about joining a union? Read our short blog about the benefits of joining The Guild and Unite the Union.

Statement on Integrating equality, diversity and inclusion into our work and our workplaces

As an organisation, the GHP are committed to promoting equality, valuing diversity and being inclusive in all of our work. We are also committed to supporting our members to ensure they work in an environment where these values are valued, lived and upheld. Read our statement and how we are working with Dr Mahendra Patel to develop an action plan.

The New Normal for Pharmacy

Many of you have had to rapidly implement novel solutions to new (and existing) issues and have demonstrated great commitment and ingenuity in order to maintain and improve patient care.   Most of these innovations and changes in practice have been well received and have provided more streamlined services or improved efficiencies within the system.  However, some have meant that Pharmacy Teams have had to accept less than ideal conditions in order to keep patients and staff safe during the COVID pandemic.   

We are asking our members to help us understand these new ways of working and what aspects you plan to keep as we move to restoration and recovery and business as usual. Working with the RPS, we are asking our members to support this short survey to find out:

  • Which changes which you have implemented during the SARs-CoV-2 pandemic that you would like to keep, and why?
  • What activities have stopped or “paused” as a result of the pandemic response, that you believe we should not reinstate?
  • Which changes you have found were not as successful as intended, and why? 

Click here to support this survey

GHP Statement on pre-registration training – for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 cohorts

May 2nd 2020

The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists represents UK wide around 4,500 Pharmacists working across the profession of pharmacy including the majority of hospital Pharmacists, Pharmacists employed by Primary Care Organisations and Pharmacists employed by other public bodies such as the NHS England, Commission Quality Commission.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that all of our members have focussed their efforts on supporting the enormous change required to meet the demands of this crisis, and that all staff members in the Pharmacy Family were involved in this effort.

We are aware that due to this shift of focus, there has been an impact on the training of the current pre-registration cohort in NHS hospitals (the class of 2019-20). The Pre-registration year is designed to provide you with the opportunity to contextualise your knowledge and skills from a University setting into real patient situations as well as providing you with sufficient practice to evolve into a competent and confident practising pharmacist.

Many of you, both pre-registration pharmacists and pre-registration tutors, may have been redeployed to support high-risk areas or may be shielding due to pre-existing conditions. We, your colleagues in the profession of Pharmacy, have been overwhelmed by your willingness to offer your support in this crisis, despite the uncertainty about your own progression and registration. Thank you.

The joint statement from GPhC and PSNI on 26th March 20201 proposed that pre-registration pharmacists would register provisionally this summer due to the need to postpone the registration examinations in June and September to a later date. We know that this has led to some confusion for the current cohort of pre-registration pharmacists, and also for the incoming cohort of 2020-21.

Pre-registration cohort (GB based), 2019-2020; joining the register provisionally and getting a job in the NHS

The GHP believe that (although detail is still awaited from the GPhC on what a “provisionally registered pharmacist” will look like) pre-registration pharmacists wishing to work in the managed sector can apply for and start work as a pharmacist on an agenda for change band 6 postas soon as they join the provisional register.

The AfC profile refers to “Highly developed specialist knowledge, underpinned by theory and experience. Professional knowledge acquired through vocational master’s degree in pharmacy (4 years) plus 1 year pre-registration training and experience” which all applicants will have achieved at the point of starting their role2. We look forward to welcoming you to the NHS workforce and supporting you in starting your first 1,000 days of practice in your foundation training programme (or equivalent). This should be able to happen seamlessly as you complete your 52 weeks and start straight into your band 6 role.

Pre-registration cohort (NI based), 2019-2020; delayed PSNI exam (proposed for Aug 2020)

On May 1st, the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) issued a statement that, due to a difference in legislation between GB and NI, provisional registration as pharmacists in NI for the current pre-registration cohort will not be possible3. The PSNI have proposed a rescheduled exam for August 2020 for all eligible trainees, to ensure the minimum additional time as a pre-registration trainee. Funding for all pre-registration posts has been extended until this time.

Pre-registration cohort, 2020-2021; starting posts summer 2020

This is an exciting yet daunting time for many undergraduates as you study for finals and OSCEs in a unfamiliar online format, and graduate in absentia this summer. We, in the NHS, are looking forward to welcoming all of you into your hospital / primary care pre-registration year this summer and we are ready for you to start your training with us.

We are active on a range of social media fronts, and here is how to keep up to date with what we are doing and get in touch with us.

@GHPPharmacy @roisohare

Download the the statement