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Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme

This education and training programme was established to support the 2019/20 cohort of pre-registration pharmacists whose training and registration was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provided a unique opportunity to accelerate pharmacist early years’ education and training reform and supported the delivery of the NHS People Plan for 2020/21.

Programme aim

The Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme (IFPP) was designed to provide support for those transitioning from pre-registration trainee, through provisional registration, to full registration with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and beyond. 

Benefits of the IFPP 

For all healthcare practitioners, the move into professional practice is complex and demanding, and includes a period of intense learning of new skills, knowledge and behaviours. It requires adapting to a new phase of working and training where, probably for the first time, professional judgment and accountability will be required.  

The IFPP was a supportive, formative, trainee-led vocational training programme. The learning was predominantly based in the workplace reflecting on ‘lived experiences’ in day-to-day practice. This was to help interim foundation pharmacists identify areas of good practice and where they needed to focus their learning and development, setting an excellent path for their career in pharmacy.

The programme was also designed to support preparation for the GPhC registration assessment (if applicable). 

Whether you have deferred until the July or November GPhC registration assessment or are preparing to re-sit, continuing to engage with the IFPP will help you to optimise your preparation.

1. How does continuing with the IFPP help me to prepare for the GPhC assessment?

The IFPP gives you access to a range of resources. And if you are in employment applying your learning in your practice with supportive feedback from supervisors is a great way to prepare. 

- Start with the Exam Game Plan and 'Getting Exam Ready' videos - to help you focus your revision and calm down your nerves. Access is via the Learning Hub: log in and type 'IFPP' in the search bar. The IFPP gives learners access to a range of resources, regardless of whether you are in employment or not. 

- You will need to register with the Learning Hub to access the IFPP resources. Register with an NHS email address or an OpenAthens account. Instructions on how to obtain an OpenAthens account can be found in Appendix 1 of the IFPP Learning Opportunities guide.

- Another useful resource on the Learning Hub is the IFPP Revision Resources for the GPhC Registration Assessment. A useful resource listing revision resources to support those sitting / re-sitting the GPhC registration assessment.

- The Pharmacy Schools Council also help you to prepare for the GPhC registration assessment. Several revision events from Schools of Pharmacy are available as recorded sessions on the Pharmacy Schools Council website.

- The GPhC website also has some example assessment questions

- The PDA have a revision programme which is free for PDA members.

- The RPS hosts resources for provisional registration which are free to RPS members. 

We also advise you to use your time on the job to discuss clinical cases or observations with colleagues and develop a deeper understanding of topics.

2. Where can I find information about sitting the GPhC assessment?

All you need to know to sit the July 2021 registration assessment is on the GPhC website. This includes resources about the question types, content of the exam and feedback from past sittings as well as practical considerations for the assessment day.

3. I am struggling with calculations and could do with some additional practice – what resources are available that could help me with this?

This list is not exhaustive, but signposts to useful revision content:

- CPPE have a Clinical calculations for pharmacy professionals e-assessment. The assessment links to the Clinical calculations for pharmacy professionals e-learning and is a valuable resource to support your preparation for the GPhC registration assessment. You can access the programme and the associated assessment via the CPPE website.

- SCRIPT: Contains a module on dosing and calculations. Access SCRIPT via the Learning Hub and register for a SCRIPT account if you haven’t done so already.

- The GPhC website also has some example assessment questions

- The Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA) provides a practical, interactive calculations session, aimed at anyone who wants to test their calculation skills.

4. I am finding it difficult to cope with exam pressure. Who can I turn to?

Exams can bring on levels of stress and burnout that can hinder your studies.

Feeling prepared for the GPhC assessment will take some of this pressure off, and we encourage you to make best use of the Exam Game Plan and ‘Getting Exam Ready’ videos on the Learning Hub (see Question 1 above for details, including access to the Learning Hub). These resources will help you focus your revision in a positive, constructive manner. 

A video developed by Pharmacist Support includes a range of tips and techniques to help manage feelings of unease and also guides you through a mindfulness technique that you can practically use to overcome feelings of stress, pressure and anxiety. Getting Exam Ready session 3 (available on the IFPP pages of the Learning Hub) also contains a link to the video and other tips to support you with your health and wellbeing relating to the GPhC assessment. 

The IFPP Microlearning Health and Wellbeing guide and resilience resources on the Learning Hub also provide useful advice to support you during this time.

There will be many more sources of help too – friends, peers, colleagues, mentors, network groups and more. Make sure that you tap into the support available. 

5. What other sources of support would you recommend?

The RPS Provisional Registration Service Support line has been funded by Health Education England to help provisionally registered pharmacists with:

- Practical everyday advice on working as a pharmacist

- Final preparation for the registration assessment

- Future professional development

- Anything else a provisional registrant might need to discuss.

The line is open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm:

- Call: 0207 572 2737

- Or email ProvReg@rpharms.com

- Find out more on the RPS website.

6. After your results

When you receive your assessment results, you may want to talk about the outcome, how you are feeling, or need advice on the next steps. To assist you, the following support is available:

The IFPP offers a support line via the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS): Contact details as above.

Pharmacist Support: Pharmacist Support is an independent, trusted charity, who provide a wide variety of support services including:

Free and confidential support tailored to meet specific needs. Call: 0808 168 2233 or Emailinfo@pharmacistsupport.org.

Pharmacist Support’s Listening Friends service: This service is staffed by trained volunteers and provides you with the opportunity to talk anonymously and in confidence to a pharmacist about any stresses you are facing in your work or home life. You can speak with Listening Friends about a range of issues, for example, anxiety related to assessment results, dealing with ill health, bereavement, or difficult situations in the workplace.

To arrange for a call from a Listening Friend, call 0808 168 5133 or email info@pharmacistsupport.org.

The Wardley Wellbeing Hub: This is a practical area of Pharmacist Support’s website dedicated to wellbeing needs. It hosts a range of resources and pharmacy stories that can help you take control of your wellbeing, including:

- Well-being self-study learning modules.

- Downloadable and printable resources.

- Tips and advice from your pharmacist family across the country.

- Information about other useful tools and apps.

These resources cover a range of themes, including anxiety and relaxation, managing stress, positivity, developing time management skills, sleep, mindfulness, and understanding your worries.

Employment and regulation advice: click here.

Careers’ advice and options for pharmacy graduates: click here.

Financial assistance and advice:

- For help with managing debt, identifying priority and non-priority debt and budgeting, see the Help with Debt factsheet.

- For guidance on managing money see the Managing your Money factsheet.


1. What are the benefits of the IFPP for employers?  

Benefits for employers include: 

- A structure to support your existing in-house training programme or access to the CPPE Foundation pharmacist programme 2020/21 (subject to eligibility). 

- A flexible, formative vocational learning and development programme. Learners use work-based experiences and reflection to identify areas of good practice and further development opportunities. 

- A learner-led programme to develop their clinical knowledge and application in their practice. 

- Resources to help your learners prepare for the GPhC registration assessment (if applicable).

- Evidence that you are supporting provisional registrants to mitigate any learning and development needs identified during their monthly risk assessments or learning needs analysis. 

- Reputational evidence that you support the development of your early years’ pharmacists. 

- Opportunities to shape the initial education and training reforms for pharmacists. 

2. Will employers need to provide study time for the IFPP? 

The IFPP will not mandate any time out of practice for studying. The GPhC Initial education and training standards for pharmacists: criteria for registering provisionally require employers to provide study time prior to the GPhC registration assessment (if applicable)   

3. What educational supervision will employers have to provide? 

Each provisionally registered pharmacist in employment requires an educational supervisor to support and guide them through their developmental journey within the IFPP. The role of educational supervisor is to oversee and review the educational progress of provisional registrant during the IFPP. 

4. What training is required by educational supervisors? 

Whether or not another programme of educational supervision training has been completed the educational supervisor must complete the HEE Midlands and East of England funded e-learning module: Core Skills for Pharmacy Clinical and Educational Supervisors. This is mandated within one month of becoming an educational supervisor for the IFPP, regardless of any previous training each educational supervisor has done previously. The module will take around 90 minutes to complete and covers the basics of the skills required when supervising learners:  

- Mentoring, coaching and facilitating  

- Leadership  

- Planning teaching  

- Patient-centred teaching  

- Assessment  

- Feedback  

- Reflection 

5. Are employers expected to be involved in the delivery of the programme?  

Some employers already have established foundation training programmes. These range from formal programmes provided by large multiples community pharmacies, or informal (rotational) programmes provided in other sectors, such as secondary care. The IFPP complements such current programmes. In practice, these programmes will have educational supervisors/tutors already in place, who will oversee their development.   

Established in-house foundation training programmes need to meet the minimum assessment requirements of the IFPP. Where the local programme exceeds the minimum assessment requirements of the IFPP, the recommended local assessment requirements should be used if possible.   

6. Where can employers find more information about the programme? 

Programme handbooks describing various elements of the IFPP pathway for Pharmacists and Supervisors can be downloaded via the links at the bottom of this page.

The Preparing for Community Pharmacy Practice e-course has been designed, in collaboration with CPPE and partners, to support IFPP learners who have been unable to practice during the pandemic, orientate and refresh their knowledge in community pharmacy services and skills.

During the course, IFPP learners will have access to several interactive online modules which support them feel confident and capable when they start practice. It will also benefit IFFP learners who are currently unsure about which sector of practice to pursue with resources to help determine their next steps.

Below is an overview of the Preparing for Community Pharmacy Practice e-course where learners can undertake a self-assessment framework to help identify the key topics to learn more about to develop knowledge and skills in preparation for starting practice. key topics include:

Professional standards and legislation

Patient safety 

Controlled drugs and substance misuse

Digital technology

Community pharmacy contractual requirements and NHS services

Consultation and communication skills

Clinical knowledge

Collaborative working and the multidisciplinary team

Resilience and support

Online resources

If you are starting employment or looking for a new role and are worried about whether you are ready to start having had a break after your training year, then the following online modules can be completed to help refresh your knowledge.

The modules will also provide insight and orientation for those undecided about the step in their career journey and who would like to find out more before applying for new roles.

CPPE Orientation to Hospital Pharmacy

This online module covers:

The importance of patient safety and how to apply policies and procedures

Roles and responsibilities of the pharmacy and multi-disciplinary team

Patient pathway in hospital and across primary and secondary care

Use of digital technology

Pharmacy services available

Develop your consultation and communication skills


CPPE Primary Care Essentials e-course

This module covers:

The Importance of patient safety

Supply, store, and disposal CDs

Use of digital technology in community

Services to meet contractual requirements


CPPE Preparation for Community Pharmacy Practice

This module covers:

The Importance of patient safety

Supply, store, and disposal of CDs

Use of digital technology in community

Services to meet contractual requirements

Person-centered consultations using key skills, models, and techniques

Working collaboratively with the multidisciplinary healthcare team


E-Learning for Health modules for Community Pharmacy & GP Practice

This module covers:

The Community Pharmacy contract and provision of unscheduled care in the community.

The programme will also introduce trainees to the role of the General Practice (GP) Pharmacist.


Applying for Jobs

NHS, Primary Care Network (PCN) & General Practice (GP) Roles:

NHS jobs https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/

You can search and apply for jobs within the NHS (including those related to covid-19)

Register with NHS jobs to receive updates and alerts on your device

NHS Jobs is changing! If you have existing saved profiles and applications, this will not be transferred to the new service and will not be accessible after 31st July 2021. Follow the advice listed in the latest news in the link above

Community Pharmacist Roles:

Chemist and Druggist https://www.chemistanddruggistjobs.co.uk/

The Pharmaceutical Journal https://jobs.pharmaceutical-journal.com/

National Pharmacy Association (NPA) https://www.npa.co.uk/services-and-support/pharmacy-job-vacancies/

Useful Resources

NHS Jobs - Managing the Interview

An interview is a nerve-racking process, no matter how much you prepare for it. NHS jobs provide some top tips on managing the interview process, which can be applied in other sectors

Be My Interviewer – Duncan Bannatyne interviews you

Duncan Bannatyne provides a series of videos to help prepare you for an interview. Some of the videos may not be applicable for a job within the NHS, but the principles for interview techniques may be beneficial.

Interview Support

To help you prepare for upcoming interviews, the following section focuses on the types of the question of questions you may be asked and what the interviewer is trying to assess.

Situational questions

Will allow you to display your approach to dealing with a specific scenario.


Take a moment to think about what the interviewer is asking or looking for. Repeat

the question if needs be and ask questions yourself

The situation may be hypothetical and you may not have dealt with the past situation, which is fine. The interviewer is trying to assess how you would deal with the situation, think about what you would do

Example 1:

You have a customer with a crying baby requesting to see you, a prescription waiting to be checked, a person on the phone and someone waiting for a pre-booked travel consultation. How would you prioritise?


Think about delegation

This type of question can be easily changed to a hospital situation e.g. on-call

Example 2:

You have noticed a team member not performing to their usual standard – what do you do?

Tip: Think about when you need to escalate

Competency-based questions

To assess specific attributes, knowledge, and behaviours. Competency-based questions are less likely to be hypothetical. This will enable you to draw directly on real-life examples and be focused on specific competencies than a general approach to situations.


You may wish to use the STAR approach to answer the question (situation, task, action, and result)

Example 1:

Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond to support a customer/patient

Example 2:

Provide examples of situations and scenarios when you demonstrated leadership to complete a task

Example 3:

Can you provide an example of when you didn’t agree with a healthcare professional? How did you deal with that situation?

General Questions

To find out more about you as a person and what you can bring to the organisation

Example 1:

Can you undertake a SWOT analysis of yourself?

Tip: try and think of your strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats within this role. Think about how the weaknesses and threats can be turned into opportunities

Resilience and Well-being

The following resources have been developed to help support IFPP learners during these challenging times.

Introduction to resilience and emotional intelligence

This video provides a set of tools and strategies to help develop your knowledge and skills around self-kindness and managing stress. 

Resilience in the workplace

This video focuses on managing the transitions into work, strategies to manage change, building confidence, and keeping well.

Managing challenges and making progress:

This video focuses on building resilience, strategies to manage setbacks, managing stress, and how to keep well. 


Fateha Al-Emran, Shabina Azmi, Jaimisha Patel, and Suraj Varia. HEE London and South East Pharmacy Team

Resilience and wellbeing: Dr. Jacqueline Clarke, Dr Alicia Pene Bizama, Jatinder Saimbi, and Emma Pearso

1. Does the IFPP replace the GPhC registration assessment?  

No. The IFPP does not replace the GPhC registration assessment, nor is it an extension to the pre-registration pharmacist programme.

2. Do I need to be enrolled on the IFPP to take the GPhC registration assessment?  

No. It is not a requirement of the GPhC registration assessment that candidates are enrolled on the IFPP.   

3. Is the IFPP mandatory?  

No. The programme is not mandatory. However, participation in the programme will help you demonstrate progression against the IFPP and RPS Foundation Framework 2019. The programme also aims to support your future career development.  

4. I am not currently in employment, will the IFPP offer support for those not in employment to get employment?  

The programme enables you to access resources to help you continue developing your knowledge, which will help you find employment.

5. Is the independent prescribing qualification part of the IFPP?  

No. The independent prescribing qualification is not integrated into the programme.

6. What do I receive at the end of the programme? Are there academic credits attached?  

When you complete the programme you will receive a Health Education England statement of progression against the IFPP.  This does not provide academic credits but will help you demonstrate progression against the IFPP learning outcomes and RPS Foundation Framework 2019. The programme also aims to support your future career development.  l