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DH warned: Dispensing assistants could replace technicians

The pharmacy technician role could be "at risk" as contractors look to offset the funding cuts, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) has warned.

APTUK told the Department of Health (DH) it is concerned that “the pharmacy technician role may be replaced with a dispensing assistant to reduce staffing budgets”, the association’s president Tess Fenn said.

APTUK is also concerned that “training placements for pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians will reduce or be put on hold”, Ms Fenn told C+D last week (April 11).

This “deskilling” of pharmacy teams might result in “a detrimental impact on patient safety and workplace pressure”, she warned.

The association raised these concerns with DH last year, and APTUK is monitoring the situation now that the funding cuts in England have come into force, Ms Fenn said. 

However, the “real impact [of the funding cuts] is yet to be known”, she added.

DH acknowledges concerns

The DH acknowledged the APTUK’s “concerns” in a 38-page report – released internally in October 2016 and revealed during the High Court hearing last month – and said it had “asked the APTUK to monitor” the “demand for education and training of pharmacy technicians”.

However, Ms Fenn refuted the claim, adding that APTUK has “not been formally asked” by the DH to monitor the situation.

Nevertheless, APTUK will “be looking for trends”, she said. If it becomes “apparent” that demand is affected, this will be "raised” with the DH again, she said.

“Pharmacy technicians – as regulated, registered, accountable and responsible professionals – can contribute to the delivery of integrated person-centred care,” Ms Fenn said.

Have the funding cuts jeopardised pharmacy technicians' jobs?

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