September 22, 2020

How Overseas Pharmacists Can Live and Work in the UK

This article contains information for overseas qualified pharmacists, including information on registration and immigration, who intend to live and work in the UK. Anyone wanting to work in the UK as a pharmacist must register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists, therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize use of medication for the benefit of the patients.

EEA and Non-EEA nationals

The GPhC is the regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians. Registration with the GPhC does not provide the right to work in the UK.

Qualifications obtained outside the EEA

Applicants who hold qualifications obtained outside the EEA, or non-EEA nationals who hold European pharmacy qualifications (other than a UK-recognisd pharmacy qualification), must follow the GPhC Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP) to apply for registration.

Before you can apply for registration you will need to have successfully completed:
  • an Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP)
  • 52 weeks of pre-registration training approved by the GPhC, and
  • the registration assessment
Meeting these criteria does not necessarily mean you will gain entry to the UK or find employment. Before you start the qualifying process you should carefully consider information provided by the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) to see whether you will be able to get the necessary visas and work permits.

Further information for overseas (non-EEA) qualified pharmacists is available on the GPhC website.

A pharmacy

EEA nationals with a European qualification

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) possessing a European pharmacy qualification and who wish to apply to register with the GPhC must first complete an information pack and provide the information requested. An applicant's route to registration will depend on how the competent authority describes the qualifications and/or work experience held by the individuals in relation to the relevant European Directives.

There are two possible routes to registration. Details are available on the GPhC website.

When the GPhC has verified the information requested, the appropriate application for registration form will be sent to the applicant.

Roles in pharmacy

Generally, pharmacists enjoy science and are keen to help others. Their roles in the UK could be in hospital as a hospital pharmacist, in a GP practice or in the community as a community pharmacist. Whether you work in a hospital, GP practice or community pharmacy setting, you need good communication skills to work with the public and patients in a clinical role and as part of a healthcare team.

At some point in their career, pharmacists in the UK may have to work with Pharmacy technicians or Pharmacy assistants. Who are Pharmacy technicians? And who are Pharmacy assistants?

The above article is reproduced from material entitled 'Information for overseas pharmacists' as provided by NHS Careers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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