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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians

HEE is working with partners to provide a system-wide response to COVID-19.

Please note: This content covers the period March 2020-September 2020. Recent guidance is available on our new Covid-19 page

We are working with our key stakeholders to support pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and the wider student, trainee and apprenticeship community respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing:

  • Guidance for students and trainees with their studies and next steps.
  • Pharmacy materials to aid learning and upskilling via the e-Learning for Health coronavirus programme
  • Workforce planning advice and support including facilitating the deployment of MPharm students wishing to support the pharmacy workforce

Links to published guidance and support:

Due to the measures implemented as a result of COVID-19, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)has had to delay the registration assessment and has set criteria for placing eligible pre-registration pharmacists on to a temporary provisional register.  

This is to allow the 2019/20 pre-registration trainees who have completed 52 weeks of training and made satisfactory progress to meeting the required standards to start working from 1st August 2020, as they originally planned. The GPhC recently published more guidance for joining the temporary provisional register

Health Education England, in partnership with key stakeholders, is establishing an Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme to help provisionally registered pharmacists transition to full GPhC registration and beyond.

The aim of the programme is to help provisionally registered pharmacists providing NHS funded care and services develop their ability to achieve high-quality outcomes for patients, improve patient safety and reduce medication errors. The programme will also be evaluated throughout to inform the development of a UK-wide Foundation Pharmacist Programme.

HEE Letter: Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme (IFPP) – 28 July 2020

HEE and NHSE&I Letter: Pharmacist Education and Training Reform – 23 July 2020

Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme

We are working with our stakeholders to provide information to undergraduate pharmacy students and those that may support the pharmacy workforce safely and effectively.

Guidance has been issued that defines guiding principles for how employers might support safe and effective deployment of pharmacy students within pharmacy settings, during the emergency period. Current advice is that students only deploy in a way/at a time that will not interrupt their amended schedule of assessment.

The guidance document can be found here - Undergraduate pharmacy students are advised to refer to the Pharmacy student data guidance to support completing the survey

The link for students to submit their interest in deployment.

We are working closely with partners to keep our learners informed and reviewing the impact of COVID-19 on the pharmacy workforce.

The Pre-registration Training Programme Directors/Leads will continue to support pre-registration pharmacists and tutors, and encourage them to use our Pre-registration Pharmacy Questions Portal to anonymously submit questions and concerns over provisional registration.

- Guidance for pre-registration trainee pharmacists and pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians has been issued as a coordinated response across England, Wales and Scotland. The guidance highlights the importance of supporting trainees and protecting patients.

- Changes have been made to the 2020 National Pre-Registration Pharmacist Recruitment Scheme in light of the ongoing restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple Mini Interviews have been cancelled, with a message and next-step guidance issued to pharmacy students and employers.

- We have issued guidance for Chief Pharmacists and Pharmacy Service Leads for redeploying 2019/20 pre-registration pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to Nightingale Hospitals. 


HEE press release: GPhC provisional registration – 22 May 2020

- National Pre-Registration Pharmacist Recruitment: MMIs Cancelled – Message and guidance for pharmacy students - 18 May 2020

National Pre-Registration Pharmacist Recruitment: MMIs Cancelled – Message and guidance for employers

The redeployment of pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians to Nightingale Hospitals - 27 April 2020

The redeployment of 2019/20 Pre-registration Pharmacists to Nightingale Hospitals – Guidance for Chief Pharmacists and Pharmacy Service Leads 22 April 2020

Pre-registration trainee pharmacists and pharmacy technicians: Guidance for employers - March 2020

Response to GPhC’s statement postponing pre-registration pharmacist assessments - March 2020

FAQs for pre-registration pharmacy trainees, tutors and employers

Apprenticeship updates and dedicated COVID-19 resources and guidance are on the HASO website. These include HEE Talent for Care guidance documents and FAQs in relation to COVID-19 apprentice pay and breaks in learning. Please refer to the HASO website.

The NHS has launched a mental health hotline for staff tackling COVID-19. This is part of the extensive work the NHS is doing to help provide expert care to both patients and health and care staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. Find out more here.

Our focus is on the health and well-being of our trainee and learner community, and their dedicated providers and employers. We know how much quality education means to you, and are working closely with our training providers and pilot sites to navigate these challenging times, balancing the needs for service provision, the educational needs of learners and the safety of healthcare professionals and the public.  

 - For training and education pathways provided by CPPE, please read CPPE’s full statement  
 - For postgraduate courses and modules, Integrated Urgent Care / NHS 111 Workforce Development Programme for Pharmacists and Independent Prescribing training for pharmacists deployed as part of NHS England programmes, please contact your University provider
 - For pre-registration trainee guidance, please refer to the statement jointly issued by HEE, HEIW and NES
 - For key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19), go to: https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/coronavirus/
 - Above all else, please keep following current guidance and advice from Public Health England: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

Find out more:

 - https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/pharmacy/pharmacy-training (National training offers)
 - https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/pharmacy/pre-registration-pharmacist-training-general-practice (GP Pharmacist integrated pilot)
 - https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/pharmacy/national-training-offers-pharmacy-professionals/training-courses-pharmacists-pre-registration-pharmacists/pre-registration-trainee (Pharmacy technician integrated pilot)