The PDA have released the third chapter of their pharmacy technicians report which shows that although 73% of pharmacy technicians on the 2017 GPhC register were admitted through grandparenting arrangements, the GPhC does not hold records of what assessments were conducted by the RPSGB as to the suitability of the qualifications of individual pharmacy technicians during the grandparenting process.
The grandparenting entry arrangements were established by the RPSGB in its previous life as the pharmacy regulator and ended in 2010, prior to the establishment of the GPhC.
Following a substantial project on skill mix in pharmacy, the PDA recommends that;
- The current variance in the training and educational standards of existing pharmacy technicians presents risks to the proper development of skill mix in community pharmacy and must be addressed.
- The public register of pharmacy technicians should be annotated for those individuals who have been grand-parented on to it and for those in possession of the recently acquired NVQ3 qualifications.
Going forward, the standards for the education of pharmacy technicians should be reviewed if a skill mix is to flourish. The PDA recommends that;
- A minimum entry level requirement should be established of at least 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including Maths, English and either Chemistry or Biology, for enrolment on to pharmacy technician initial education and training courses.
- The current NVQ level 3 qualification standard for pharmacy technicians should be increased to a level 4/5 educational (HNC/HND/foundation degree) standard.
- A registration assessment for all pharmacy technicians should be established as a condition of formal registration. This would provide quality assurance and guarantee a minimum level of knowledge. This process should be administered by the GPhC.
Mark Koziol, Chairman of the PDA commented;
“Under such circumstances, it is unsurprising that community pharmacists are reluctant to delegate and that the government’s proposals to change the rules on supervision are mired in concerns over patient safety and a lack of support from community pharmacists.
“A pharmacy without a pharmacist is never going to be as safe as a pharmacy with a pharmacist present, however, if pharmacists are to contemplate engaging in new and more patient-facing roles, they must be able to have much greater confidence in the ability of pharmacy technicians to be able to undertake the tasks that they are delegated. Pharmacy technicians in community pharmacy must be able to provide a safe and robust workforce upon which pharmacists and ultimately patients can rely.”