Some community pharmacy employers are allegedly cancelling study leave for provisionally registered pharmacists, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association has claimed.
In a January 14 statement, the PDA said it had heard from provisionally registered members who are “struggling to prepare” for the upcoming registration assessment after previously agreed study leave was cancelled by their employer.
The PDA, which has not named the companies involved, attributed this to “unprecedented pressure on pharmacy services” during the coronavirus crisis but urged employers to seek alternative solutions to their staffing problems.
PDA director Paul Day said: “Many of our locum pharmacists have indicated, since the announcement of the dates of the assessment, that they are available to offer cover and employers should utilise that population.
“These are difficult times for everyone and the whole pharmacy community has a part to play in ensuring exam candidates can continue with their careers."
The PDA has also alleged that some provisionally registered pharmacists have a clause in their contract requiring them to sit the assessment at the “earliest” opportunity (the GPhC has said individuals who do not feel prepared to sit the mid-March exam may wait until June).
This could potentially cause some candidates to fail the exam because they have not been able to prepare adequately, said the PDA, which called on employers to waive any such clauses “which after all were drafted last summer when the current pandemic circumstances could not have been known”.
PDA director of defence services Mark Pitt said: “This vulnerable group are working and learning in incredibly stressful and pressurised working environments, balancing personal and work commitments to provide high-quality care to patients.
“This extraordinary situation is an opportunity for pharmacy employers to embrace the values inherent in our profession by prioritising the needs of prov-regs over the next few months.
“This will give them the best chance to pass the assessment and to more comprehensively help patients once fully registered.”