The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) has said that expanding the pharmacy technician’s role in the pharmacy is “pivotal” to meet the increased demand for community pharmacy services and the development of the clinical responsibilities of pharmacists.
But APTUK accepted that any decision to delegate responsibility must be based on the results of a risk assessment.
APTUK’s statement follows demands made last week by a group of community pharmacists that called on members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Assembly to declare where they stood on the controversial supervision proposals.
Some 509 supporters of the Pharmacists in Pharmacy campaign group requested a personal meeting with each member of the Assembly before they took part in a vote to elect a new president at their meeting on Tuesday, 18 July.
The possible changes to pharmacy supervision come from the government’s Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board, which is considering allowing pharmacy technicians to supervise a pharmacy in the absence of the pharmacist as part of its current review of medicines legislation.
Technicians must refer to pharmacist
“Ensuring that pharmacy technicians do have the required level of competence is a critical part of the risk management strategy,” APTUK said in its statement.
But it adds: “Pharmacy technicians must recognise the limits of their competence and refer to a pharmacist when necessary.”
However, Pharmacists in Pharmacy opposes the move, believing that a pharmacist should be present in a pharmacy at all times, and it warned that handing over authority to a technician “deprofessonalises and depersonalises” the supply of medicines and the face-to-face advice role that a pharmacist traditionally offers.
It argues that a pharmacy without a pharmacist “is just a shop.”
The RPS issued a statement responding to the pharmacists’ letter and confirmed it has “always believed that a community pharmacy requires a pharmacist to be present” but it admitted that in England, reforms to pharmacy and budget cuts “have had a big impact.”
It said it was committed to ensuring future investment for community pharmacy and added: “We have listened to our members, and they have told us that, now more than ever, the sector should be coming together around a positive, constructive agenda that makes it clear how community pharmacy will be an integral part of the reformed NHS structures across Great Britain.”
- On 25 July 2017, this article was amended to reflect APTUK’s position statement.