The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has set out new draft standards for the initial education and training of pharmacy technicians, which it says will provide a workforce that is better prepared to take on increasing responsibilities if required in the future.
The draft standards reflect how some elements of the pharmacy technician role, which were once seen as advanced practice, have become a key part of the role, says the GPhC, the independent regulator for pharmacy in Great Britain.
The standards include the ability to carry out accuracy checking; the requirement for newly qualified pharmacy technicians to be able to understand core safety concepts, such as clinical and corporate governance as well as audit; and their ability to work within and across teams.
Education and training “must not only support pharmacy technicians’ learning of knowledge and skills, but also help instil in them decision-making abilities, clarity about professionalism and the ability to work both within teams and independently”, the consultation document says.
The new standards must reflect the roles that are required now of pharmacy technicians at the point of registration but “must also prepare pharmacy technicians of the future to take on increasing roles and responsibilities, if employers (both in the NHS and independent sectors) want this and if governments across Great Britain propose changes to legislation”.
The draft includes a set of learning outcomes that must be achieved by preregistration trainee pharmacy technicians, and a set of standards and requirements for course providers responsible for delivering the learning outcomes.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, says: “We recognise that the role of pharmacy technicians has grown and is likely to continue to grow and these standards are intended to help ensure pharmacy technicians are prepared for the future.” Currently, preregistration technicians must be supervised by a pharmacist during their training, and the consultation will consider whether supervision could also be provided by a pharmacy technician.
The consultation also proposes removing the ability of current or recently registered pharmacists in Great Britain or Northern Ireland to register as a pharmacy technician automatically. “Although there are many similarities between the professions, there are also differences,” the document says. “We do not think it appropriate that one healthcare professional can simply register as another without some independent assessment.”