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 In Regional News

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has released the third chapter of its pharmacy technicians report which shows that although 73 per cent of pharmacy technicians on the 2017 General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register were admitted through grandparenting arrangements, the GPhC does not hold records of what assessments were conducted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) as to the suitability of the qualifications of individual pharmacy technicians during the grandparenting process.

The grandparenting entry arrangements were established by the RPS in its previous life as the pharmacy regulator and ended in 2010, prior to the establishment of the GPhC.

In September 2014, at the RPS conference, the current Chair of the GPhC, Nigel Clarke, was asked whether the GPhC would be prepared to issue guidance to pharmacists, to encourage them to delegate tasks to pharmacy technicians. He explained that as a result of grandparenting, there were some very variable standards among pharmacy technicians. He told the conference that it was therefore not possible for the regulator to take a blanket view and to recommend to pharmacists what roles they should delegate to pharmacy technicians; a generic approach to the entire group was not possible.

‘Under such circumstances it is unsurprising that community pharmacists are reluctant to delegate and that the government’s proposals to change the rules on supervision are mired in concerns over patient safety and a lack of support from community pharmacists,’ commented Mark Koziol, Chairman of the PDA.

Mark continued, ‘A pharmacy without a pharmacist is never going to be as safe as a pharmacy with a pharmacist present, however, if pharmacists are to contemplate engaging in new and more patient-facing roles, they must be able to have much greater confidence in the ability of pharmacy technicians to be able to undertake the tasks that they are delegated. Pharmacy technicians in community pharmacy must be able to provide a safe and robust workforce upon which pharmacists and ultimately patients can rely.’

For more information about the pharmacy technicians report, visit www.the-pda.org/pharmacy-technicians.

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