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Insider's view: Pharmacy supervision proposals 'don't exist'

Proposals to allow pharmacy technicians to supervise medicines supply "don't exist", Rob Darracott – former member of the board responsible for "rebalancing" pharmacy legislation – has said.

Contractors warned Royal Pharmaceutical Society assembly candidates last month that “many community pharmacists are extremely concerned” that the Department of Health programme board plans to “empower pharmacy technicians to supervise pharmacies” as part of its strategy to “rebalance” pharmacy legislation.

But Mr Darracott told C+D this morning (August 25) that "as far as I am concerned, no member of the board has even suggested it".

"The statement just doesn't exist," said Mr Darracott, former chief executive of Pharmacy Voice, who left the board in April.

"We now have hundreds of people concerned about a proposal that is not a proposal that I recognise at all," he added.

In a letter sent to Labour MP Hilary Benn earlier this month, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said “the government has not brought forward any proposals to allow pharmacy technicians to supervise pharmacies”.

Mr Darracott suggested this would have done little to console concerned pharmacists.

"In one respect, getting [Mr Hunt] to write a letter that says it doesn’t exist [doesn't work], because everybody goes: ‘Well, who trusts the secretary of state?’"

"Extreme scenario"

Mr Darracott served on the board responsible for “rebalancing” pharmacy legislation since its creation in 2013, but left in April when Pharmacy Voice closed its doors for good.

Pharmacists are right to be concerned about the "extreme scenario" that has been painted in recent months around pharmacy technicians legally supervising the supply of medicines, he added.

It is important that the sector has a "robust debate" about how pharmacy currently operates, as it has changed "dramatically" since Mr Darracott first qualified, he said.

But these discussions should not be clouded by a non-existent proposal: "It is not on the table and nobody has suggested it."

"I don’t think it is very helpful to get people worried about something that isn’t true," he added.

Do you think pharmacy technicians should be allowed to supervise medicines supply?

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