Signing off

In her last column as APTUK president, Tess Fenn highlights new opportunities for pharmacy technicians and announces her successor

In January, I encouraged you all to seize all the opportunities that 2019 may bring. The start of the year has certainly been productive and has seen a number of healthcare guidance and policy announcements. All of these will have an impact on our pharmacy profession. So what’s new?

Siezing opportunities

To start, NHS England launched its Long Term Plan outlining its priorities for the next 10 years. The report rightly recognises the role of pharmacy as a fundamental partner in the provision of community-based healthcare and the inclusion of the pharmacy team in new Primary Care Networks is welcome. Making better use of community and GP pharmacists’ clinical skills further enables and enhances the supporting role of the pharmacy technician. Improving outcomes through support and education of patients to enable them to get the best from their medication, reduce waste and promote self care is also recognised in the report, and pharmacy technicians are well placed to deliver on this.

Under the umbrella of the NHS Long Term Plan, it has also been announced that £4.5 billion, within the GP Contract Five Year Framework, is being invested in general practice. By 2023-24, the aim is to recruit an extra 20,000 healthcare workers, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, to transform the way health is delivered across England through new models of care. It was pleasing to see the recognition in the report that pharmacy technicians’ skills can contribute to the wider primary care team, building on the experience and evidence gained from the investment in care home pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy technicians, as one of a number of professionals integrated in Primary Care Networks, will support patient care and contribute to improving the health of the population, carrying out medication reviews and supporting de-prescribing and antimicrobial stewardship.

Breaking news

This month has also brought the eagerly awaited announcement of the next APTUK president: Liz Fidler. I am sure you will join me in giving her our heartfelt congratulations and our enduring support as she takes up this role.

Also announced was the new vice president Ellen Williams. Both Liz and Ellen have previously held APTUK national officer posts – education and editor respectively – so are no strangers to our members. I wish them every success. 

It is, therefore, with reflective contemplation and tremendous excitement for the future, time to hand over the reins and to say au revoir. It has been my absolute pleasure and honour to have written this column and to have served my profession as your leader for the last five years. Being part of APTUK has bought me into contact with so many amazing, stimulating and inspiring people. I would like to thank everyone for all the support I have been given. I am immensely proud of APTUK, our achievements and our pharmacy technician profession. You are tremendous healthcare professionals and don’t let it be said otherwise. I hope I have made a small contribution and a difference. Signing off, Tess.

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