CCA welcomes plans to harness pharmacy technicians

On 28th March, the Department of Health and Social Care announced plans to enable pharmacy technicians to administer and supply specified medicines to certain groups of patients using Patient Group Directions (PGDs).

The CCA wholeheartedly supports plans to harness the skills of registered technicians. As registered and regulated professionals, pharmacy technicians already play an important role in community pharmacies. These proposals will allow technicians to administer vaccinations and play an even greater role in the delivery of the NHS Pharmacy First service. It will also free up pharmacists’ time to deliver more patient-facing care.

The announcement follows a UK-wide consultation, which ran from 18 August to 29 September 2023. 84% of respondents agreed with the proposals. The Government will now seek to progress changes to the Human Medicine Regulations (HMRs) 2012. The timescale for bringing this legislation into force will depend on parliamentary process.

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the CCA said: “The CCA and others have long campaigned for an enhanced role for registered pharmacy technicians.

Technicians already play an important role and are currently able to supply medicines through several legal routes. These proposals are a no-brainer and will help build greater capacity within pharmacy teams at a crucial time for the sector.

We urge the Department to implement these changes as soon as practically possible. The Department must also now deliver on the ‘efficiencies’ they committed to as part of the five-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework that ended last month.

We must not lose sight of the growing gap between the funding the sector receives and the funding it needs to maintain patient access”.

The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) said: “The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK), as the professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians, welcome the positive outcome of the DHSC consultation supporting the enabling of registered pharmacy technicians to supply and administer medications under patient group directions.

This is a landmark moment for patient care and will ensure pharmacy technicians are able to safely expand access to pharmacy services in a pressured healthcare landscape. During the COVID-19 pandemic it was also evident that pharmacy technicians and their potential were not able to be fully utilised to support delivery of essential frontline pharmacy services, such as vaccination.

To practise using a PGD, healthcare professionals must have completed any training outlined in the PGD and have been deemed competent and authorised by the provider organisation. As a registered profession, pharmacy technicians must also uphold pharmacy professional standards stipulated by the regulator the General Pharmaceutical Council, and complete continued professional development relevant for their area of practice and role.

APTUK acknowledge that initially the powers will apply in England, Wales & Scotland only. This is because pharmacy technicians in Northen Ireland are not currently registered, therefore the planned changes will not enable pharmacy technicians in Northern Ireland to use PGDs. APTUK are assured that once pharmacy technicians in Northern Ireland become registered and regulated, further amendments may be made to permit this.

With this announcement, APTUK have also released the first in a series of supportive documents to educate and support pharmacy technicians with their scope of practice with such developments and changes to legislation”.


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