In January, Abdulhafeez Mustapha, a Nigerian pharmacist, dispatched a file containing his original degree certificate to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in the United Kingdom.
According to Mustapha, the document was dispatched as part of the mandatory requirements for the Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme (OSPAP) designed for international pharmacists who wish to convert their existing qualifications so they can practice in the UK.
The Nigerian also said that the GPhC acknowledged receipt of his document on January 25, 2021. After getting his decision letter from the council in March, he waited for his degree certificate to be returned.
ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE NOT RETURNED
“On September 2, I sent the council a mail about the return of my degree certificate. I also followed up with a call on the same day and got a response from a customer care agent, who said that the document would be sent the following week,” he told FIJ.
After three weeks of not hearing from the school, the pharmacist sent an email to remind the council of their promise. It was at this point that the council sent him a tracking ID on September 23.
“Upon tracking the document, I found out that the document had actually been sent on February 25, 2021, but the GPhC did not notify me that it had been dispatched,” he further stated.
The pharmacist also noted that the tracking did show that the item had been airlifted from the UK by the Royal Mail.
“I have been in a total state of shock with the handling of this issue by the GPhC,” said Mustapha.
BACK AND FORTH GAME
When he reached out to the council for an explanation on the poor handling of his document, he was referred to the Royal Mail for a resolution.
Mustapha said he made several calls to GPhC agents in September and October but some of the company’s agents said they were unaware of his previous conversations with other agents.
“The response has always been that I should contact the Royal Mail, despite the council being the sender, and the receiver of the documents from me,” Mustapha lamented.
When he contacted the Royal Mail, he was told there was no information about his document in their tracking system.
He was eventually advised to contact GPhC, the sender, so a claim for the loss of the item could be submitted online.
“The response I got from the Royal Mail is also very shocking and damning,” Mustapha said, “These two organisations have lost my original degree certificate and have no interest in finding out what happened to it. This is the most painful part of this ordeal.”
HOLDING GPhC RESPONSIBLE
Mustapha holds the GPhC responsible for the loss of his document, being the recipient, and for being the organisation he paid £687 for the processing of his application.
“How does the GPhC expect me to support my applications to other organisations in the future without my original degree certificate, after it had handled it carelessly, and without any responsibility? This is totally unacceptable,” lamented Mustapha.
The matter has also affected the pharmacist.
“I have been emotionally troubled and downright suicidal since the incident. My quality of life has suffered and I find it difficult going by every day, as both organisations keep pushing me to each other and none is ready to conduct an investigation to find my original degree certificate,” Mustapha said.
FIJ emailed GPhC and Royal Mail, but no response was received.
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