Pharmacists in a pharmacy

Pharmacy changes to give greater role to technicians

The government has launched a new consultation on proposals to expand the use of pharmacy staff and increase access to primary care.

The changes include empowering pharmacists to authorise registered pharmacy technicians to do things that would otherwise need to be done by, or under the supervision of, pharmacists.

The handling of pharmacy and prescription only medicines is currently the responsibility of pharmacists to either supervise pharmacy technicians or perform the task themselves.

The new proposals would allow pharmacists to delegate more and thus spend more time delivering patient care.

Under this new system, pharmacy technicians would assume primary responsibility for the preparation and assembly of medicines in hospital manufacturing units.

They would also be able to dispense prescriptions in pharmacies, subsequently avoiding situations where patients cannot pick up their medicines when the pharmacist is unavailable.

Pharmacy supervision consultation benefits

Health minister Andrea Leadsom, said: “This is about making the most of the talents of our excellent and highly trained pharmacy staff, to benefit them and their patients, and improve service delivery more generally.”

She continued: “By giving pharmacy technicians the chance to use their skills in a safe way and take on more responsibility for dispensing, pharmacists will have more time to carry out the clinical assessments they are trained to do.”

The UK’s four chief pharmaceutical officers released a joint statement in support of the proposals.

It read: “This will improve career progression for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and ensure they are using their training and skills to contribute to the best of their professional ability as part of the NHS team.”

The consultation closes at the end of February 2024.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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