It would not be appropriate for provisionally registered pharmacists to act as the responsible pharmacist (RP) in pharmacy-led Covid-19 vaccination sites, the GPhC has said.
In notes for its January 8 council meeting, the GPhC said that while individuals on the provisional register are equipped to act as the RP in a community pharmacy, the complexity and level of risk involved in running a vaccination site meant that only fully registered pharmacists should do so. A number of designated pharmacies in England will begin vaccinating patients from Monday January 11.
The regulator said: “The Covid vaccination programme is extensive, complex and high profile, which is further complicated by having to deliver one or more MHRA approved but unlicensed vaccines.
“Being an RP for the programme would involve considerable legal, regulatory and professional responsibilities. In the interests of patient safety, it is essential that pharmacists undertaking these responsibilities have the appropriate experience and confidence in what will be a pressurised environment.
“As provisionally registered pharmacists have not yet been able to take and pass the registration assessment and are consequently already required to practise under the guidance and direction of a senior pharmacist, it would not be appropriate for them to be the RP for the delivery of the vaccine.”
The regulator, which has come under pressure to scrap or postpone the upcoming March registration exam, said that having provisionally registered individuals run vaccination sites would place “unacceptable” pressure on the cohort and could “potentially lead to a shortage of pharmacists at a time of pressure, thereby affecting patient safety”.
Provisionally registered pharmacists may still play a valuable part in ensuring target patient groups are vaccinated, it added.
The GPhC said it had consulted the views of student representatives and employers before making its recommendation.