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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Pre-registration pharmacist scheme (PRPS)

We manage the educational infrastructure for pre-registration pharmacy trainees in Scotland through the pre-registration pharmacist scheme (PRPS).

The main components of the PRPS include; a centralised recruitment process, a standardised training programme and quality assurance of the national programme.

PRPS recruitment

We coordinate a centralised recruitment process whereby the selection of suitable recruits into the PRPS is by means of a standardised, quality assured process. The placement of successful PRPS trainees is carried out considering both the preferences of the trainee and the training provider.

The pre-registration training placement gives trainees the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and experience in real-life situations under the guidance and supervision of a GPhC approved tutor.

Previous trainees and trainers

Hear what some of our previous trainees and tutors have to say about their experience of PRPS training:



Emma and Eilidh



Tutor - Fiona

Information for PRPS applicants

PRPS information booklet for prospective trainees [PDF]

This booklet contains essential information for Prospective Trainees regarding how the scheme is structured and how the recruitment process operates, including an overview of the assessment process.

The Job Description, Person Specification and Professional Attributes Framework are also very important and provide specific details of the criteria that candidates are required to demonstrate throughout the recruitment process.

All applicants are strongly advised to read these documents thoroughly prior to submitting an application:

The online recruitment system ORIEL will be used throughout the recruitment process for the following purposes:

  • Access training provider information statements [activated 3 June 2020]
  • Complete a PRPS application form [applications open on 10 June 2020 and close on 24June]
  • Select a date and time for attending the assessment [5 August 2020]
  • Complete a candidate preference list [between 5 Aug and 23 October 2020]

If you get locked out of your oriel account, please contact for assistance.

Training provider information statements (TPIS)

Details of training providers involved in PRPS for training year 2021-22 can be found on Oriel, in the programme details of the pre-registration pharmacist - Scotland vacancy.

Training provider information statements are available on the NES TPI site. Applicants are encouraged to read the information booklet for prospective trainees, below, prior to contacting training providers.

Recruitment timeline

The recruitment timetable can be found below.

Applicants are advised to add these key dates to their diary. There are strict deadlines for booking assessment slots and for responding to offers of a pre-registration training post. It is really important for you to ensure you plan around the below dates as it will not be possible for us to make any alternative arrangements.

Recruitment Activity


Training Provider Information Statements published

3 June 2020

Oriel applications open

10 June 2020 (12pm) 

Oriel applications close

24 June 2020 (12pm)

Training Provider Preferences open (for those submitting a list)

16 July 2020 (12pm)

Candidate Preferencing window opens

29 July 2020

Invitation to SJT/numeracy selection centre opens

5 August 2020*

Invitation to SJT/numeracy selection centre closes

19 August 2020*

SJT/Numeracy selection centre held

28 September 2020 - 10 October 2020*

Training Provider Preferencing window closes

28th October 2020

Candidate Preferencing window closes

30 October 2020

Comms to unsuccessful students

Early November **

First iteration of offers made

11 November 2020

Offers upgrade deadline

30 November 2020 (12pm)

Programme commences

July/August 2021

Assessment process

With the SJT and numeracy assessment being a new introduction to PRPS recruitment, further information regards this type of assessment along with sample scenarios and scoring grids are available below to allow a familiarisation with this form of assessment.

Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) are a measurement methodology designed to assess judgement in work relevant situations. The Pre-Registration Pharmacist SJT has been designed to assess the professional attributes expected of a Pre-Registration Pharmacist. The scenarios have been written by subject matter experts who work closely with Pre-Registration Pharmacists. This ensures that the scenarios presented are realistic and fair and provide an accurate reflection of what Pre-Registration Pharmacists encounter in their role.

The SJT will be a written test examining four of the attributes from within the Pre-Registration Pharmacist Professional Attributes Framework. It will consist of 52 scenarios to be completed in 104 minutes. When responding to each scenario you will be asked to place yourself in the role of a Pre-Registration Pharmacist and indicate what you should do in response to the situation presented.

Within the SJT there will be two types of response format:

  • Rank five responses in order of appropriateness in response to the scenario
  • Multiple choice where you will be required to select the three most appropriate actions (out of a total of 8) in response to the scenario

Example of a situational judgement test and scoring guidance

The following questions and answers are provided as examples only to give you an idea of the style of question that will be asked during the SJT. The answers include expert rationale.

A further guidance document provides general information on how the SJT will be marked and scored.

Numeracy test

The numeracy test will be taken directly before the SJT in the same room. The test is designed to test numeracy with less clinical context than the GPhC registration assessment. It will last approximately 15 minutes.

The numeracy test is designed to provide assurance of an applicant’s ability to carry out basic pharmaceutical calculations. There are ten questions and the time allowed for the exercise is 15 minutes. These calculations are not provided in a clinical context and are designed to test mathematical ability rather than practice knowledge.

Calculators are permitted to be used during the test. You may not use calculators on smartphones, tablets, smartwatches or equivalent technology. Answers will be free text (i.e. not multiple choice).

IMPORTANT: calculators will not be provided at selection centres.

Example of a numeracy test

The following questions and answers are provided as examples only to give you an idea of the style of question that will be asked during the SJT. The answers include expert rationale. Sample Scenario [PDF]

Additionally, the Pharmaceutical Journal has published some articles for students on what you need to know about the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) and Numeracy assessment. Please note that these articles were produced prior to the changes to recruitment for 2020 therefore some references e.g. to MMIs will not be relevant.

Offer process

Offers will be made in waves from mid November 2020. The upgrade deadline is 30th November. The Information Booklet for Prospective Trainees provides important details regarding the offer process, including the different options an applicant may choose in response to any offer made and the deadline by which they must respond. All applicants MUST read the document carefully before responding to any offer made.

Support webinars and FAQ’s

Colleagues from NES, HEE, HIEW and BPSA co-hosted a webinar on Wednesday 3rd June where they talked through the alternative national arrangements for 2020, as the assessment process will be the same across England, Scotland and Wales. We encourage you to view this webinar – if you missed the webinar a recording is available to view on the RPS website.

Following on from this, NES Pharmacy hosted a Scotland specific webinar on Wednesday 10th June to explain the full Recruitment process in 2020 for the Pre-registration Pharmacist Scheme in Scotland. We strongly encourage you to view this webinar to ensure you are fully aware of the various steps in the recruitment process:

Please see a list of useful FAQ’s recently published for pre-registration recruitment 2020 following an event organised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Training Providers Promotional Materials

As part of the contingency plans implemented for PRPS recruitment, in response to the ongoing restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NES Pharmacy are hosting the following resources dedicated to the promotion of pre-registration training sites and programmes, within Scotland. These resources will provide potential candidates with the opportunity to explore the variety of pre-registration training posts and training providers available to them. Further information will also be available through the training providers information statements (TPIS).

Further information regards how to contact individual training providers will be available either within their specific information or the TPIS. See list of See the list of Hospital or Split Programmes who have chosen to supply details of their programmes..


Important: We would like to bring to the attention of all applicants the potential impact Brexit may have on your application, employment and training in the UK. We therefore encourage you to refer to the UK Government website for further information and advice.

Information for PRPS training providers

Due to restrictions surrounding COVID-19 we have made some changes to our recruitment process. The details of which can be found in the Information Booklet for Training Providers. Please read this at your earliest opportunity. Further information has been sent directly to Training Providers involved in 2020 Recruitment, if you have not received any information please contact

Training Provider Information Statements provide an opportunity for Training Providers to publish information on the NES website regarding their organisation, including contact details for arranging visits and work placements. The statement is intended to help candidates identify their preferences for Training Provider. Training Provider Information Statements are now live on the NES TPI site.

Training Provider Preference Lists, for those submitting a preference list, will be activated on your online account on 16th July at 12pm. Prior to submitting a Preference List we advise Training Providers to read the PRPS Information Booklet for Training Providers, linked below.

NES Guidance for Training Providers includes an update on the recruitment process for 2020, a How To for creating a Preference list and Matching Information.

Find the information booklet for training providers [PDF]

Key dates for recruitment 2020 can be found under the information for PRPS applicants section.

Privacy and data protection

Full details of how NHS Education for Scotland manages personal data within PRPS recruitment can be found in the following PRPS recruitment privacy notice [PDF].

Contact us

PRPS national programme

The PRPS seeks to prepare pharmacists for registration, with the knowledge and skills defined in the GPhC Performance Standards, and the ability to deliver pharmaceutical services across the sectors in NHS Scotland.

All pre-registration pharmacists recruited into the PRPS follow a similar training programme with learning outcomes as specified in the GPhC Performance Standards and Registration Assessment syllabus.

The core PRPS programme is a framework of distance learning and supported events, dovetailing as much as possible with employer training programmes.

It features the following:

  • a template workplace training programme which ensures that the needs of the GPhC and NES are met.
  • a programme of core direct learning events and specified distance learning materials all of which must be attended/completed by all pre-registration trainee pharmacists in the PRPS.
  • a bank of additional optional resources to meet trainees individual learning needs.
  • a practice registration assessment to be undertaken by all pre-registration trainee pharmacists in the PRPS.
  • a First aid training course organised by NES to be undertaken by all pre-registration trainee pharmacists in the PRPS.
  • a period of cross sector experience which may be undertaken by all pre-registration trainee pharmacists in the PRPS.

Quality assurance of the PRPS

The obligation of employers to participate in the PRPS quality assurance processes is detailed in an Educational Agreement or Service Level Agreement between NES Pharmacy and the approved training provider. The employers are required to sign the agreement to participate in the PRPS and to receive funding.

The quality assurance process centres on the approval of the training sites and the approval and training of the tutors.

NES Pharmacy have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the GPhC which allows NES to undertake training site approvals on behalf of the regulator for all training sites which require to be registered with the GPhC for pre-registration training. The approval criteria will ensure that the necessary facilities and support are in place to provide the trainees with the level of training required.

NES Pharmacy ensures that all tutors are suitably trained and approved and provided with on-going educational support to meet quality standards and approval and facilitate on-going development of individuals as tutors. The NES Pharmacy approval of pre-registration tutors is based on the GPhC criteria, with the additional requirement to participate in NES Pharmacy tutor training and annual tutor appraisal scheme. The tutor is required to complete core training via online core tutor training modules and participate in an appraisal process where they assess their performance against the regulator standards.

Hospital or Split Programmes who have chosen to supply details of their programmes

Last updated: 23/09/2020

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