As lobbying for pharmacy technicians to be involved in winter immunisation plans ramps up, Liz Fidler discusses this and other opportunities for pharmacy technicians’ careers
As the summer draws in, I hope that you have managed some leave or have some planned. The last few months have required us all to give so much to the roles we undertake and taking some time out is critical for our health and wellbeing. There are many free resources available so please do take some time to look after yourself.
At the time of writing this, discussions continue regarding winter immunisation plans. You may recall in my last article I was describing the work underway by APTUK to request legislative change be updated to include pharmacy technicians as one of the healthcare professionals listed to be able to supply and administer medicines under a Patient Group Direction (PGD). This is a real enabler for services and will support enriching the career pathway for pharmacy technicians working in community pharmacy.
There is a wealth of evidence around how community pharmacy is the front door for patients and being so accessible and open locally, its crucial to any mass vaccination programmes. APTUK will continue to lobby and raise awareness of the contribution pharmacy technicians can make. It is not just about vaccinations, but also the role pharmacy technicians working in community and primary care can make to supporting public health, end of life care and so much more under a PGD.
I sincerely believe the time is now and would encourage you to continue championing what pharmacy technicians can do – many voices are hard to ignore. Please do have a look on Twitter and contribute to the debate. There is considerable support across professions and sectors for this to happen. It will be a historical moment in the pharmacy technician profession’s journey. I remain very optimistic that this will happen.
Never has there been such a spotlight on the growing career opportunities for pharmacy technicians. APTUK is discussing at the highest levels the need for education funding and workforce planning to enable growth in the community pharmacy technician workforce. We are there representing the profession, but we need more community pharmacy technician members to strengthen the case.
Hopefully, you would have seen the work we have led with the Primary Care Pharmacy Association and Royal College of General Practitioners, developing a UK-wide framework to underpin the knowledge and skills of pharmacy technicians working in primary care. This framework has elements that would support career enhancement for community pharmacy technicians. Even better, it provides an opportunity to explore split roles across community and primary care. I encourage you to follow information updates on our website, or join our free webinar (out of working hours) in a few weeks’ time. The date will be announced soon on social media and our website so keep an eye out.
I would also like to give a huge shout out to the rest of the pharmacy team – dispensers and medicines counter assistants – the often-unsung heroes. Be assured, we guarantee you are not forgotten in high-level discussions. Having spent a recent weekend having the honour of reading submissions for the TM awards, I remain humbled and so impressed by all we do – we really must shout out more. Have a relaxing summer if you can – see you in the Autumn.