If you are a regular reader of Training Matters and my column, you will be aware that so much is happening within healthcare and pharmacy at the moment. Some of these changes and proposed ways of working may impact on you as a pharmacy technician and a highly skilled pharmacy professional. So, what
is changing, you may ask, and why?
The Government’s Programme for Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation programme board is starting to look at the issue of supervision and I emphasise starting as this work, although it has already given rise to much discussion within the profession, still has a journey to take. I would like to clarify here that this discussion is about the assembly, sale and supply of medicines only, which currently must be carried out under the supervision of a pharmacist. It is about whether any possible relaxations and flexibility on the pharmacist supervision of tasks within the assembly, sale and supply processes will benefit patients and can be carried out safely by pharmacy technicians. As an example, if the pharmacist has been called away on an emergency and the pharmacy technician remains, could the sale of P medicines take place or could a regular repeat prescription that has not had any changes be given out to the patient.
Joining in with this discussion, APTUK has engaged with a number of panel debates and our professional leadership view is that ‘‘we believe that changes to supervision can be an enabler to empower safe and effective patient-centred pharmacy services, wherever they are delivered”. We believe that a confident, competent pharmacy technician being able to legally oversee the sale or supply of P or POM medication in a registered pharmacy would support this. This is our belief based on discussions we have had with our profession and the education, training, knowledge, skills and experience of pharmacy technicians. However, others within the pharmacy profession feel otherwise and there is currently healthy debate to ensure that any changes proposed are right.
In order that we are representative of the opinions of our pharmacy technician professionals and to enable us to have evidence-based, informed views to take to the rebalancing programme board discussions, APTUK is consulting with all pharmacy technicians to canvass their views and opinions.
The survey is a chance for you to help us identify opportunities, assist decision making and ensure any new ideas work effectively in practice. I would like to ask you all to take part, and to spread the word to your colleagues, as it is really important that we have as many responses as possible to be representative of the full workforce. So please take part; your profession needs you.
We look forward to the results, which as a dedicated reader of Training Matters, you will be the first to know about.