This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

pharmacy tech.jpg
Opinion bookmark icon off

Primary care pathways

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) supports pharmacy technicians working in primary care primarily through their Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway (PCPEP)

This month, Jo Nevinson (pharmacy technician, education supervisor and member of the CPPE learning development team) and Bianca Glavin (senior pharmacy technician in pathway education) share some insights into the pathway opportunities for pharmacy technicians working in primary care, and the support CPPE offers.

Last month, your article outlined the different topics that are covered in PCPEP. What makes this pathway so integral to pharmacy technicians working in primary care?

Jo Nevinson (JN): The NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), launched in January 2019, sets out a vision to improve patient care. It included the introduction of extended roles in primary care networks (PCN) such as for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. NHS England and Improvement produced a Direct Enhanced Service Contract (DES) to meet the vision of the LTP and this defines the roles. CPPE have been commissioned by the NHS to provide PCPEP to guide pharmacy technicians in developing the knowledge and skills required to meet the roles and responsibilities defined in the DES.

Bianca Glavin (BG): The NHS vision shows the move from process and technical roles traditionally undertaken by pharmacy technicians to more clinical, patient-facing roles. Throughout the learning on the pathway, we ensure that person-centred care is at the heart of the learning. The benefits of this pathway are that pharmacy technicians are building their baseline knowledge, and then solidifying this knowledge at online workshops or face-to-face workshops where they learn alongside their peers and consider how to apply their learning in practice. The PCPEP gives pharmacy technicians the support to progress in their clinical roles and improve medicines optimisation.  

Pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists to complete the pathway. Why is this, and what benefits does it bring?

JN: Pharmacy technicians have traditionally worked alongside pharmacists for many years. However, working together in their PCN role is new. The roles are different but work in harmony with each other. The best way to understand each other’s roles and limitations to maximise skill mix is to learn together. This approach enables the two professions to work at the top of their licence to benefit patient care and fully support the multidisciplinary team.

BG: The PCPEP has built on the successes of the Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes pathway, which saw pharmacists and pharmacy technicians learning together. By working more effectively within the pharmacy team, roles become better connected, which can empower the workforce to work to their competence. In turn, this can improve the patient journey through services provided by the PCN. 

The pathway is a 15-month long opportunity, covering lots of essential learning. What support do you offer to pharmacy technicians completing the pathway?

JN: Support starts in the workplace. Pharmacy technicians have a nominated clinical supervisor who can support their learning and role development in line with the DES, who provide a minimum of four hours direct supervision per month. They will also have a dedicated CPPE education supervisor who is there to keep them on track with the pathway learning, assess submitted work and provide networking opportunities at group tutorials. Their job is also to guide pharmacy professionals to meet the roles and responsibilities outlined in the DES. CPPE clinical mentors are available to provide additional support if needed.

BG: We have created additional optional support for pharmacy technicians on the pathway. On a monthly basis, we run a lunchtime support session, where pharmacy technicians from all cohorts attend to share successes, network with others, and ask questions. In addition to this, we run clinical preparation sessions ahead of the Module 2 events. Module 2 is all about developing clinical knowledge and applying it in practice. The support sessions are structured for pharmacy technicians new to clinical medication review, to attend and gain peer support ahead of the online workshops. On the online learning platform, we have created pharmacy technician areas, as well as discussion forums. This has led to lots of networking and sharing of protocols to use in the workplace. For more information visit the CPPE website.  

Copy Link copy link button