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pharmacytechnicianJune 10 2015

A review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) suite for pharmacy is underway. Running into early 2016, the review is part of the work being undertaken to review the education and training standards for pharmacy technicians as required by the pharmacy regulator.

National Occupational Standards (NOS) are described as “statements of the standards of performance individuals must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace, together with specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding.”

They are developed for employers by employers through the relevant Sector Skills Council or Standards Setting Organisation. In pharmacy, the General Pharmaceutical Council requires pharmacy technicians to meet the outcomes of a number of NOS which are set out in the 2010 ‘Standards for the initial education and training of pharmacy technicians’.

Skills for Health is reviewing the pharmacy NOS suite with the GPhC and other stakeholders. “Once the NOS have been approved, the current qualifications can then be reviewed in line with the revised NOS and GPhC requirements,” says SfH. “It is not the intention of this project to review the structure of the regulated qualifications as this will be undertaken following the NOS approval.”

SfH anticipates the wider review of the education and training standards may bring other functions into the scope of the regulated pharmacy technician role. “Where NOS do not exist for these functions new NOS will be developed.” However, “new NOS will only be developed as part of this project where it is necessary to meet the requirements of the GPhC for the regulated pharmacy technician role.”

As some pharmacy technician function can also be undertaken by pharmacy or dispensing assistants, SfH says that any revisions to the NOS should ensure that the NOS are applicable to both roles where appropriate.

The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) has welcomed the review. APTUK President, Tess Fenn, added that she was “delighted” to be on the project Steering Group, and a number of other APTUK members are part of the working group.

“The NOS review is of upmost importance, not only for this to be part of the GPhC review of the initial pharmacy technician education and training standards, but also to ensure that they are current and accurately reflect the functions that pharmacy technicians undertake at the start of their professional career and entry onto the GPhC register,” said Ms Fenn.

“APTUK are encouraged that where new NOS are identified these will be developed and are keen that patient centred care and professionalism is captured within the pharmacy technician functions.

“We remain committed to supporting and influencing developments at every opportunity to ensure the NOS are fit for purpose. We urge our members, from all sectors of pharmacy, to engage with the online consultation in the summer, particularly as this crucial work will feed into the pharmacy technician qualification review.”

Links:

Skills for Health announcement    

Review of the Pharmacy National Occupational Standards - Project Information Bulletin    

APTUK response    

National Occupational Standards    

GPhC ‘Standards for the initial education and training of pharmacy technicians’    

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