Almost three-quarters of pharmacy technicians did not attend their fitness to practise (FTP) hearings, as many believed that they did not have an income, career or status worth protecting, according to a Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) report.
Th PDA analysed General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) disciplinary hearings of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians over 50 months between 2012 and 2016, and found that 73% of technicians did not attend their FTP hearings.
The report — the second chapter of which was published on 7 September 2018 — highlighted that some pharmacy technician absentees appeared more willing to look for another job unconnected to pharmacy than face regulatory proceedings. It added that, in some cases, registrants said they had had no difficulty in finding alternative employment with a similar or higher salary and far less responsibility in non-healthcare related work.
According to the PDA report, research commissioned by the GPhC found that the salary bands for trainee and qualified pharmacy technicians in hospital were significantly higher than those in community pharmacy, and that the pay for pharmacy technicians employed in community pharmacy was the lowest of any of the healthcare technicians examined.
“The salaries of community pharmacy technicians are generally low (in many cases less than the UK Living Wage). For individuals in this group, the ultimate sanction of removal from the register (striking off) does not realistically represent anything like the ultimate sanction,” the PDA report stated.
“Pharmacy technicians from the hospital setting, especially those at more advanced stages of their careers and on higher pay grades, stand to lose much more if the ultimate sanction is applied, relative to those in community pharmacy.”
The PDA report added that the existence of a register of pharmacy technicians could not be relied upon in isolation to protect the public, and recommended that it is underpinned by a suitably structured career framework for pharmacy technicians to support the roles of pharmacists, linked to pay banding at a significantly higher level than it is currently.