The PDA (Pharmacists’ Defence Association) has released the first chapter of a pharmacy technicians report that assesses the current roles and capabilities of pharmacy technicians in the UK.
The document, titled ‘Pharmacy Technicians Report 2018 – community pharmacy skill mix and the current UK landscape’, highlights proposals to develop the roles of community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and the skill mix required to meet patients’ needs.
Alima Batchelor, Head of Policy at the PDA commented:
“This report was designed to promote an informed debate about the future roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and how the two might work together. We encourage a healthy debate because there are a wide range of key topics, which need to be properly considered and addressed.”
“The 300-page report consists of 8 core chapters and has taken more than 3 years to develop. In order to analyse all the key discussion points in the report and the reasoning behind each recommendation for improvements, the PDA will publish the report a chapter at a time over the coming few months.
“It was revealed recently that the government has been involved in discussions around the possibility of pharmacy technicians taking over the role of pharmacists in community pharmacy settings. The first chapter of the report, titled ‘Professionalism: the differences between healthcare professionals and healthcare technicians’, starts by showing the clear difference between the role of a pharmacist and that of a pharmacy technician.
“Only in understanding that these are two completely different roles that require a distinctly different skill set, and level of training, can you see that pharmacy technicians have not received the necessary training to take on the roles and responsibilities of a qualified pharmacist. Using umbrella terms such as ‘pharmacy professional’ is unhelpful because they could mislead the public into thinking that the two roles are interchangeable”, Alima continues. “That creates a risk to patient safety.”
The first chapter of the report goes on to state:
“Historically hospital pharmacy technicians are comprehensively more organised, better resourced and far more advanced in their levels of training and expertise than are their community pharmacy colleagues. Pharmacy policymakers must not use hospital pharmacy technicians as exemplars of the roles and responsibilities that can be safely undertaken by community pharmacy technicians until a much wider, planned and properly-executed re-engineering of community pharmacy practice takes place.”
Tess Fenn, President of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) commented:
“The Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK), as the professional leadership body for Pharmacy Technicians, are clear and steadfast in their belief that Pharmacy Technicians are professionals in their own right and play an integral and important part in the delivery of safe and effective health care for patients and the public. APTUK are resolute in their position of waiting for the full publication of the whole PDA report before responding further.”