Pre-registration MPharm candidates in Northern Ireland are to sit their registration assessment on August 11, the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed.
In a statement put out on Wednesday July 8, PSNI president Jim Livingstone said each of the 150 pre-reg candidates now has a place confirmed at one of three new examination venues: Methodist College Belfast, Ulster University Jordanstown and Ulster University Coleraine.
The assessment was originally scheduled for June but this was pushed back due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Livingstone said that while in previous years a single venue (Queen’s University Belfast, which is currently unable to host exams) would have sufficed, “this year three venues had to be sourced to ensure compliance with Covid-19 guidelines”.
He said finding appropriate venues and making the necessary arrangements to ensure social distancing had been a “mammoth task” and thanked the three assessment centres for agreeing to take their properties out of lockdown after the PSNI persuaded them of the need to “increase the qualified pharmacy workforce in Northern Ireland at a time of unprecedented need”.
“With each confirmed venue came the requirement for additional staff, invigilators and in-house service providers to facilitate the examination. Extensive risk assessments were carried out and plans put in place for cleaning and PPE,” he commented.
In previous years the PSNI has put on two registration assessments – one in June and another in October for those starting their pre-reg training too late to sit the earlier assessment.
However, this year “the October examination is not necessary as this group will be accommodated in [the August exam],” said the PSNI, adding that plans are underway for a second exam later in the year.
More information will be made available closer to the examination date, said the PSNI.
Elsewhere in the UK, pre-registration pharmacists are being admitted onto a provisional register from August, allowing them to practise as pharmacists during the pandemic. They will be required to sit an online registration assessment at some point but no date has yet been specified.