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GPhC exam: Anyone affected by ‘procedural errors’ can get provreg status

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GPhC exam: Anyone affected by ‘procedural errors’ can get provreg status

Any candidate who sat last week’s registration exam and can show they faced problems that “amount to procedural error” will be able to join the provisional register, the GPhC has said.

In a statement this afternoon, the regulator said this includes “candidates who experienced delays of 30 minutes or more, and other candidates who successfully appeal their result after experiencing other procedural issues such as significant technical problems or other major disruption during the sitting”. 

It had previously offered provreg status only to those candidates in a small number of test centres who faced severe delays, such as in the University of Nottingham.

A GPhC spokesperson told Pharmacy Network News that ‘procedural errors’ may include persistent noise during the exam, invigilators talking loudly, or computers freezing for long periods of time.

Candidates who can show they were affected by these issues will be able to get a full refund and have the sitting discounted as one of their three attempts to pass, in addition to being offered provisional registration. To get provreg status they must meet a number of criteria including sitting the assessment at the first available opportunity.

Allegations of cheating, such as some candidates reportedly using calculators during the second paper, are being dealt with separately and will not count as a procedural error for the purposes of this evidence gathering exercise, PNN understands.

The GPhC told PNN that a candidate survey in the wake of the exam had received over 1,200 responses.

GPhC chair Gisela Abbam said: “We would like to sincerely apologise again to the candidates who experienced significant problems during their registration assessment sitting.

"We know our apology cannot undo the significant emotional upset and worry that has been caused. As a Council, we are absolutely committed to supporting the individual candidates affected by significant problems, and to taking swift action to prevent this happening again.

“The Council is extremely dissatisfied with the way the assessment was delivered. We are urgently investigating with BTL what went wrong through a serious incident review and will then consider what further action we should take, so that there is due accountability. 

“The Council have agreed that all candidates who experienced a delay of over 30 minutes in starting or completing either or both parts of the assessment will be eligible for provisional registration.  

“We understand some other candidates feel they experienced other problems on the day relating to how their sitting was managed, that significantly affected their performance. We want to reassure them that we are also listening to them and considering all of the issues they have raised as part of our investigation.

“The Council agreed that it was right and fair to also offer provisional registration to candidates where their appeal is upheld due to other problems they experienced, such as significant technical issues or other major disruption.

“The Council agreed we need to continue to urgently review arrangements for the November sitting and quickly decide how that sitting should be held, to reduce as far as possible the risk of these issues happening again, while still holding a robust assessment that upholds the confidence of the public and the profession.

“The Council is looking forward to welcoming the successful candidates into the profession.”

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