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GPhC: Pre-reg technicians don't need pharmacist supervision

Trainee technicians could be supervised by fellow technicians, rather than a pharmacist, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has proposed.

​Under the GPhC's current criteria, pre-reg technicians must train under “the direction, supervision or guidance” of a pharmacist only.

But allowing pre-regs to train under technicians instead would help “legitimise” their training in environments where a pharmacist might not be present, the regulator said in a consultation document published yesterday (December 8).

The GPhC's plans for its “first major overhaul” of education standards for technicians also includes a proposal to remove the option for pharmacists to be able to automatically register themselves as a technician.

Although there are many similarities between pharmacists and technicians, “we do not think it is appropriate that one healthcare professional can simply register without some independent assessment”, it explained.

“Pharmacists wanting to register as technicians should have to complete the same initial education and training as pre-registration trainee technicians,” the GPhC added.

Launching the consultation, the GPhC said it is “clear” from its “dealings with the sector” that technicians “are being seen more and more as crucial members of the healthcare workforce, with growing responsibilities and roles”.

Although technicians were only added to the GPhC's statutory register in 2011, responsibilities that were once seen as “advanced practice” are now key parts of a technician's everyday role, the regulator stressed.

These responsibilities include: the ability to carry out accuracy checking; the requirement for newly-qualified technicians to understand core safety concepts, such as clinical and corporate governance and audits; and the ability to work within and across teams, it said.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said: “We recognise that the role of pharmacy technicians has grown and is likely to continue to grow. These standards are intended to help ensure technicians are prepared for the future.”

Assessing minimum training time

The regulator is also asking for feedback on whether some “flexibility” should be introduced around the required two-years of work experience for trainee technicians.

Those trainees who are able to meet all the learning outcomes in less than two years could be allowed to do so, “with appropriate safeguards”, the GPhC suggested.

The regulator is collecting feedback from individuals and organisations via a questionnaire, which can be emailed or posted back to its London head office. The consultation will run for 14 weeks, closing on March 1, 2017.

It will analyse the responses at its governing council in summer 2017, it added.

Read the full document and complete the questionnaire here.

What do you make of the proposed changes?

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