Do you think Pharmacy Technicians should have the opportunity to become independent prescribers?
YES! Absolutely! This would need to be an advanced role for a specialist, experienced Pharmacy Technician that would, of course, be within the individual’s competency and specialism.
How do you see the role of the Pharmacy Technician, in general, developing in the coming years?
Being more clinically based, working on the hospital wards completing POD checks, completing medicine reconciliations, and communicating with other healthcare professionals from a ward level. The Pharmacy Technician’s role is being taken out of the pharmacy dispensary where roles like controlled drug dispensing are being carried out by pharmacy assistants who have been trained for the role. The education and training for Pharmacy Technicians is more clinical knowledge based than it’s ever been before and future roles will develop to use that knowledge better.
What is your personal ambition as a Pharmacy Technician?
I have always wanted to be a Dispensary Manager. The role of line managing different members of the pharmacy team, managing and organising a dispensary in a smooth and efficient way. I would particularly enjoy helping to lead, train, and motivate members of the team. I also want to put into practice the knowledge I learnt during my PTPT course. I would enjoy looking after a ward, helping the ward to run safely and effectively and helping to improve the patient experience, particularly in regard to their medicine usage. I am committed to lifelong learning, want to be active within the Association of Pharmacy Technician UK, to share my passion for pharmacy with others, and to achieve my full potential within the pharmacy team.
Pharmacy Technician practice developed tremendously in the 1980’s. Do you think community Pharmacy Technician practice has progressed to the same degree?
Before working in hospital pharmacy, I worked originally as a Saturday boy in community pharmacy before going on to do my counter assistant course and starting my pharmacy assistant level 2 course. After working in community pharmacy for 6 years, I have always known the role of a community Pharmacy Technician is to accuracy check dispensed medication. Sometimes a Pharmacy Technician would counsel patients how to take their medication correctly, but this was mainly done by a pharmacist. I, therefore, don’t feel the community Pharmacy Technician has progressed very far compared to that of a hospital Pharmacy Technician.
What are the barriers to developing future roles for Pharmacy Technicians in community practice?
I personally feel the barriers to develop the Pharmacy Technician role in community practice is funding. From being included in an oversight group to input my opinion to the new qualification for Pharmacy Technicians, I have heard that community pharmacies are worried about how much this will cost their organisations and concerned how up to date a Pharmacy Technician will be compared to a pharmacist. I believe there is a lack of clarity over the difference between a Pharmacy Technician and a pharmacy assistant. With lack of clear role definition within community pharmacy often pharmacy staff are not used to their full potential. The NHS pharmacy contract also often restricts delivery of services only to the pharmacist. To embrace new roles for Pharmacy Technicians will help pharmacists deliver services to patients more effectively.
What is your opinion on ‘accuracy checking dispensing assistants’?
The final check of a dispensed item is simply checking the accuracy of the items against a prescription. This role could easily be carried out by a suitably trained and accredited pharmacy assistant as the role is simply an accuracy check and does not require any clinical knowledge. Having pharmacy assistants carry out all roles within the pharmacy dispensary, and a Pharmacy Technician overseeing these roles would help release Pharmacy Technicians to do more active roles on the hospital wards, using the clinical knowledge they gained during their training in practice. I, therefore, feel accuracy checking dispensing assistants should be considered as a role development for pharmacy assistants as this would mean there is career progression available for these individuals.
If you could change one thing in pharmacy what would it be?
I would like to see the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians the United Kingdom working more closely together and even to merge so that pharmacy can be united together as one voice as both pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians have a great deal in common with each other.