Happy New Year! The start of a new year always provides a time for reflection and motivation. Christmas and New Year is an exceptionally busy time for pharmacy professionals, but I hope that you found the time to stop and reflect on the contributions you have made to support public and patients with their healthcare.
Lots of people will have set themselves New Year’s resolutions, some of which will be related to their health and wellbeing, and many people will seek support and advice from their local community pharmacy to help them achieve them.
I noted that on social media, both locally and nationally, there were campaigns and individuals describing the merits of visiting community pharmacy during the festive period. The public is more aware of services provided by community pharmacy than ever before, but are we truly in a position to meet that expectation 24/7? It’s a difficult question to answer, for a whole host of reasons, but I truly believe that pharmacy professions are ready. With the correct investment and education we can reach our full potential and continue to be one of the primary healthcare providers within easy reach of the public.
I’ve said on several occasions that the role of the pharmacy technician is at a pivotal point. Over the years the numbers of pharmacy technicians training and being retained in the community pharmacy sector has anecdotally declined and there is some evidence through HEE Community Workforce Surveys to evidence this. Again, many reasons contribute to this complex issue – an article that I will save for later in the year. However, to support pharmacy technicians, employers and services, APTUK – working with key partners – has been leading a UK wide piece of work to scope the role analysis of foundation (early years) practice for pharmacy technicians. This will be critical in helping to shape a Foundation Practice Framework.
To meet the NHS England Long Term Plan and patient healthcare requirements, we need to understand how the role of pharmacy technicians can enhance community pharmacy services. Providing an education framework to underpin a career in primary care will be a huge step to closing the gap between this sector and acute care.
APTUK will report key findings from this project and start discussions with stakeholders in the spring, but you can have your say now. We would really encourage you to respond to the consultation, which will be live from 24 January to 9 February 2020. This is your chance to have a say about what post-registration education will look like to support the profession in growing and retaining the pharmacy technicians skillset and expertise in community pharmacy. More details can be found below.
With this all in mind, I am looking forward to what the next decade will bring for the pharmacy technician profession.
Thank you for your support with this research project, led by the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) and Health Education England and funded by the Pharmacy Integration Fund.
We aim to go from strength to strength as we progress towards our goal: to design a UK-wide Foundation Pharmacy Technician Framework across the UK and across sectors that will define the professional capabilities to be developed during training.
We received an overwhelming response to our collective communications last month, with over 125 pharmacy technicians offering to take part in virtual focus groups. These brought together early years pharmacy technicians to discuss the skills required to support the development of an attributes framework.
The Work Psychology Group (WPG), who are delivering the work, ran four focus groups between the 9 and 13 December to ensure a wide breadth of perspectives are gathered from across the UK.
The next stage of the research will be to validate the findings that are emerging from the focus groups, analysis of existing literature and stakeholder interviews. This will be done via a national survey. To help us prepare for this vital phase in the project, we are asking you and your stakeholders to register your interest to take part in the national survey between now and 23 January. So what do you need to know?
What: Whole system views on Foundation Pharmacy Technician Role Analysis via a national survey run by the Workforce Psychology Group (WPG)
Where: The survey will be accessible online
When: The survey will run from 24 January to 9 February (it will take approximately 20 minutes to complete)
Why: To review the skills required as an early-year technician to support the development of an attributes framework.
We welcome your help in cascading this information to pharmacy professionals via your channels. Feel free to use the ready-made artwork on social media.
Please note that as a thank you for contributing to this important work, participants who complete the survey will be entered in a draw to win an £100 Amazon Gift Voucher from WPG.
If you have any questions about the role analysis and the validation survey, please contact Jessica Pickard.