GPhC standards 'flexible' on support for Ukrainian refugees

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GPhC standards 'flexible' on support for Ukrainian refugees

Pharmacy teams helping Ukrainian refugees arriving in Britain “may need to depart from established procedures,” the General Pharmaceutical Council has acknowledged.

In a statement yesterday, the regulator said that in “challenging circumstances” where pharmacists are supporting those who have fled to Britain, it may not be practical to follow all the usual procedures when making an emergency medicine supply.  

The GPhC said: “Pharmacy teams and pharmacies across Great Britain will be playing a critical role in supporting people who have fled the war in Ukraine, including when they first arrive in Great Britain and may need emergency supplies of medicines or other care.”

“Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations,” it added, encouraging all pharmacy teams “to consider what they can do to help”.

The GPhC also said it had heard from employers and pharmacy bodies “who are considering how they may be able to offer employment opportunities to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who qualified in Ukraine and have come to Great Britain”.

It said: “We welcome all those wishing to work in pharmacy, in any capacity.

“We would highlight that there are many roles across the pharmacy team that do not require registration.”

Ukrainian pharmacists “with the necessary English language skills” can apply to join the register if they have a relevant qualification obtained in the EEA, the regulator clarified.  

Alternatively, they may apply to enrol on the Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme (OSPAP), a one-year full-time postgraduate diploma for pharmacists who have qualified outside the EEA.

OSPAP must be followed by 52 weeks of foundation training and then obtaining a pass mark in the registration assessment. 

Pharmacy technicians will usually need to undertake training and work experience in Britain before registering, in addition to meeting the English language requirements.

Regarding queries around donating medicines and medical devices to Ukraine, the GPhC noted the WHO guidance stressing that it is preferable to donate money to charitable organisations.

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