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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
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Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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a lady pharmacist with prescription imageJuly 10 2018

Pharmacy technicians have indicated concerns about the possibility that their role could change to include supervising medicines supply in pharmacies.  

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association survey with 143 responses from pharmacy technicians found that: 

  • 86% of pharmacy technicians said they wouldn’t supervise Prescription Only Medicine (POM) sales in the absence of a pharmacist;
  • 80% wouldn’t supervise Pharmacy only (P) or General Sale List (GSL) medicines if a pharmacist wasn’t there;
  • 87% wouldn’t supervise other pharmacy staff in the absence of a pharmacist.

The survey was prompted by the government’s Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation programme board agreeing in principle to proposals for pharmacy technicians to supervise other pharmacy staff, and the sale and supply of POM, P and GSL medicines to patients, including in the absence of a pharmacist.

The PDA’s survey had asked “whether, assuming all conditions (pay, training, career prospects and working conditions) remained the same, pharmacy technicians would accept criminal, civil and regulatory responsibility for supervising the sale and supply of POM, P or GSL medicines to patients, in the absence of a pharmacist on the premises.” It also asked pharmacy technicians if they would be happy to supervise the actions of other pharmacy staff in those circumstances.

For respondents who would not be prepared to take on supervision roles in their current circumstances, a further question was asked regarding under what circumstances they would consider doing so. 

In relation to supervising the sale or supply of prescription only medicines:

  • 30% indicated they would not be prepared to take this responsibility under any circumstances at all;
  • 42% said they’d do it if there was a pharmacist physically on the premises who they could ask for help if needed (which would mean they weren’t doing it in the absence of a pharmacist); and
  • 15% said they’d do it if they qualified as a pharmacist themselves (which again would mean that supervision was still being done by a pharmacist).

Commenting on the figures, Paul Day, PDA Director, said: “We don’t have pharmacy technicians in membership, but we still don’t want to see those colleagues placed in inappropriate situations.

“We can see the problems in other public services where junior colleagues without the necessary skills or competence have been asked to fulfil professional roles as a cost-cutting exercise. It is bad for them and sees a reduction in standards. In the case of pharmacy, an adverse effect on patient safety through changes to supervision would be simply unacceptable.”

Link:
PDA announcement      

Practice News

July 19 2018 The medicines regulator has issued a Drug Safety Update relating to suspected adverse drug reactions associated with medicines taken during pregnancy.
July 11 2018 New Medicines Service data indicates community pharmacists manage 19 out of 20 hypertensive patients without the need to refer a patient back to the GP. Analysis of 131,419 patient...