A NEW report, Identifying the Roles of Pharmacy Technicians in the UK, produced by the School of Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia in collaboration with the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK), has found that pharmacy technicians (PTs) are located in community, hospital, primary care and medical practices and are undertaking an expanding variety of roles, many of which have traditionally been reserved for pharmacists.
There was a strong desire in the profession for expanding roles further, particularly around the provision of patient-facing services and taking on additional responsibility in management and leadership roles.
However, over a quarter of PTs, consulted in research for the report, did not believe that their pre-registration training adequately prepared them for their first day of practice, and a need was identified to enhance pre-registration training to include: clinical knowledge, communication, management, IT literacy and education skills, as well as accreditation for final checking.
The report identified a need for increasing the length of training to incorporate this new material and making the qualification degree-level was identified as the most appropriate solution. In addition, as there was currently no strategy for post-registration training, there was a need to develop post-registration career pathways and frameworks.
Barriers to the career development of PTs included: pharmacists, management, lack of understanding of the PT role, and lack of opportunities, whereas facilitators included the culture of the employing organisation and support from pharmacists, managers and other staff.
The recommendations from the report were:
- Review the education and training needs of pharmacy technicians in light of the roles and activities now commonly undertaken and the identified new knowledge and skills which need to be incorporated into pre-registration training.
- Consider qualification requirements for registration of pharmacy technicians, taking into account the complexity of roles undertaken, comparability with other similar healthcare professionals and the need for the profession to develop its own evidence base.
- Review post-registration education and training to ensure that opportunities exist which enable the preparation of PTs for the wide variety of roles.
- Develop a post-registration career framework to provide a career structure for registered PTs.
- Consider how the inter-professional working relationships with pharmacists can be enhanced both pre and post-registration to ensure that the contribution of both healthcare professionals is optimised.
- The management culture within pharmacy organisations with respect to pharmacy technicians requires review in order to develop strategies for improvement.
Visit the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) website here.