The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has received instruction by the UK Government to close its temporary Covid-19 register in March 2024.
The temporary register was set up in 2020 when the GPhC used its emergency powers to register pharmacy professionals rapidly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A stipulation for pharmacy professionals registered on a temporary basis is that they must be working or volunteering in response to Covid-19.
The decision by the Government to close the list means pharmacy professionals on the temporary register can continue to practise until the end of March next year.
Those who do not want to continue to work as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician after that time will see their temporary registration closed automatically on 1 April 2024.
The GPhC has advised that pharmacy professionals who want to practise as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician from 1 April 2024 onwards, or are currently intending to practise in a role that is not directly related to Covid-19, will need to prepare a detailed portfolio before applying to return to the register.
Last year, the Government decided the temporary register would stay open until 2024, just five days before it was due to close, as part of its ‘plan for patients’ in England.
Regarding other temporary registrations, in July, it was announced that pharmacists and other healthcare professionals from the EU can continue to join the NHS workforce for the next five years without taking additional tests.
The law enabling this, named ‘standstill provisions’, came into effect on the day the UK left the European Union, and the health secretary was required to review it from January 2023 and decide a way forward.