On the 9 April, newly appointed president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) Claire Steele gave her first official speech at the annual APTUK Celebration Conference. "In the last 70 years, the role of the pharmacy technician has evolved significantly. From the inception of APTUK in 1952 by Katherine Miles MBE, we have experienced a myriad of changes in our education, professional registration status and growth of APTUK, culminating with our highest number of members in our history," she said.
"The demand for pharmacy technicians has increased exponentially over the past few years and you will hear today of innovation within the profession as we continue to expand practice and push boundaries. I encourage all pharmacy technicians to embrace change, be bold and have confidence in your ability. APTUK will be there to lead, champion and support you in your endeavours."
Her wish list for what pharmacy technicians would be doing in 70 years time included:
- The professional registration of pharmacy technicians in Northern Ireland
- Independent practice, free of the current legislative constraints
- Delivery of patient centred care without the confines of current organisational structures, where pharmacy technicians manage a case load of patients regardless of where patients happen to be
- Being able to offer patients a fully holistic healthcare service signposting to non-pharmacological interventions but prescribing where it is needed
- Utilising artificial intelligence in whatever form that takes
- Being experts in technological advancements in medicines, including genomics.
She added that a collective effort was needed to do more to attract people to the profession. "A career as a pharmacy technician should be promoted at every opportunity and as early as possible," she explained. "APTUK and employers have a key role in this but so do you as pharmacy technicians to share your knowledge and experience and extol the virtues of being a pharmacy technician. Let’s love what we do, be proud of our achievements and shout as loud as possible about what a great profession this is."