The PDA (Pharmacists’ Defence Association) has released the second chapter of the pharmacy technicians report that assesses the current roles and capabilities of pharmacy technicians in the UK. The PDA has chosen to release this report in stages over a number of months.
This report focuses on Pharmacy Technicians working in community pharmacy.
Chapter two of the report recommends that the existence of a register of pharmacy technicians cannot be relied upon in isolation to protect the public but must be underpinned by a suitably structured career framework linked to pay banding at a significantly higher level than is currently the case in community pharmacy if pharmacy technicians are to be able to support the roles of pharmacists.
The recommendations come after the study of fifty months of GPhC disciplinary hearings of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that show that over the period only 22% of pharmacy technicians attended their professional disciplinary meetings as compared to 77% of pharmacists who attended theirs when called to do so.
The report argues that the threat of the ‘ultimate sanction’, the removal from the register, is an important public safeguard providing the necessary regulatory traction to ensure that any healthcare professionals have due regard for the consequences of their actions, performance and behaviours not only in their work but also in their general activities.
The report goes on to say that it is evident that a detrimental sanction from the GPhC is likely to have little or no impact upon a pharmacy technician’s future salary prospects if they are from a community pharmacy background as they can easily earn the same and often significantly more in roles outside of healthcare.
Chapter two recommendations
- The existence of a register (a public list) of pharmacy technicians cannot be relied upon in isolation to protect the public. It must be underpinned by a suitably structured career framework for pharmacy technicians to support the roles of pharmacists, linked to pay banding at a significantly higher level than is currently the case in community pharmacy.
- If regulatory traction for pharmacy technicians is to be improved, the ultimate sanction, which is designed to protect the public, must indeed represent a meaningful loss of income, career damage and loss of status or reputation.
- Pharmacy regulatory bodies should consider whether regulation of pharmacy technicians is likely to be effective given the current conditions prevailing in community pharmacy.
- ‘Pharmacy technician’ must become a notifiable occupation, such that a pharmacy technician involved in criminal activity will be reported by the police to the GPhC as a matter of course.