The Covid-19 Temporary Register, opened in April 2020 under the Coronavirus Act 2020. This enabled the Pharmaceutical Society NI to temporarily register persons, in good standing, who had withdrawn from the register within the last three years. The purpose of the Covid-19 Temporary Register was to provide the maximum support possible to the pharmacy workforce and the health and social care system in unprecedented circumstances.
On 3 April 2020 during the initial phase, the Pharmaceutical Society NI placed 265 pharmacists on the Covid-19 Temporary Register, providing individuals with the option of removing themselves should they wish. A second phase occurred and by March 2022, 262 were on the register.
The Department of Health has now advised the Pharmaceutical Society NI that the circumstances to justify the continuation of all Covid-19 Temporary Registers are reducing, as the impact of the pandemic declines.
On 16 March 2022, the Government announced its intention to close the Covid-19 Temporary COVID Register on 30 September 2022. This will provide a six-month notice period for individuals on the Covid-19 Temporary Register. From 24 March 2022, no additions will be made to the Covid-19 Temporary Register.
Pharmacists who remain on the Covid-19 Temporary Register and do not apply to join the Register, will not be able to practice in Northern Ireland as of 30 September 2022.
Dr Jim Livingstone, the President of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society NI following the decision commented.
“On behalf of the Council and as a member of the community, I would like to thank the pharmacists on the Covid-19 Temporary Register who stood ready to support their pharmacy colleagues and provide vital health care and services to the community in Northern Ireland during the pandemic. While there was no obligation on any individual to return to practice, many pharmacists chose to do so providing valuable support across the full range of pharmacy services throughout Northern Ireland. We all owe them our gratitude.
“I want to take this opportunity to encourage pharmacists on the Covid-19 Temporary Register to now apply for full registration with the Pharmaceutical Society NI to enable them to continue to provide this vital care and support to our community.”
The registration page can be accessed here.