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Foundation registration exam problems 'appalling' says President

Commenting on the difficulties and delays experienced by candidates in five centres in England yesterday sitting the foundation registration exam, RPS President Professor Claire Anderson said:

“This is a terrible situation for candidates to be in and I fully understand their anger and distress. This was an appalling experience, especially for those affected by significant technical issues in Nottingham.

“It is not acceptable that Foundation Trainees were subjected to such traumatic and chaotic circumstances on what was already a stressful day. It is disgraceful that candidates with disabilities who were granted reasonable adjustments for the examination were disadvantaged and not able to use their additional time. This is not how we should be treating the future leaders of our profession.

“Yesterday should have been a day for our future pharmacists to showcase all they have learnt over the past five years; yet a number were not able to do this because of lack of contingency planning by the GPhC and the exam provider.

“The registration examination is the gateway to our profession. It exists to preserve the profession’s integrity and protect patients, and as such there must be confidence in it. After continued issues over multiple sittings, however, the profession is losing this trust.

“Our expectation for candidates affected by these issues are that:

  • No candidate’s progression to registration will be delayed due operational issues outside of their control
  • Candidates whose sitting has been disrupted will not be unfairly disadvantaged and they will be provided with an early opportunity, well before November resits, to complete the assessment to the best of their abilities, comparable to all other candidates.

“We call for the GPhC to publish a clear mitigation plan and risk register for the November 2022 sitting which includes:

  • Sending spare paper copies of the examination to all centres to be used in the event of a technical failure
  • Having a spare set of question papers available for emergency use should a candidate not be able to complete the assessment on the day because of technical or operational issues outside their control.

“Our future pharmacists deserve better. The GPhC must ensure no trainee ever has this kind of experience again.”  

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