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‘Pivotal moment’: Pharmacy technicians set to deliver more clinical services

Government plans to amend legislation could soon see pharmacy technicians given the powers to provide additional clinical services, PSNC has announced.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said that negotiations for years 4 and 5 of the pharmacy contract had thrown up the possibility for “a greater role for pharmacy technicians in the provision of key services”.

In “agreement” with the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), the service specifications for the national hypertension case-finding and smoking cessation services will be “amended to allow delivery by pharmacy technicians”, the two bodies and PSNC wrote in a letter to contractors yesterday (September 22).

Read more: Government to plough up to £15.9m into training for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians

But PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton told C+D that while it is “easy” to update the service specifications for the hypertension case-finding and smoking cessation services, secondary legislation will also need to be changed.

The DH has committed to launching a public consultation asking whether pharmacy technicians can use patient group directions (PGDs) and another consultation “to enable community pharmacies to make better use of the available skill mix in pharmacies”.

 

Enhancing the pharmacy technician role

 

Allowing pharmacy technicians to help out with more clinical services will be “critical in starting to address the very severe capacity constraints that the sector is facing”, PSNC wrote in a briefing.

In the future, pharmacy technicians could help with “elements” of the newly announced contraception service and other services, too, “in due course”, Mr Buxton told C+D.

Read more: Pharmacy technicians to become registered professionals in Northern Ireland

“We’ve already included the ability for technicians to provide some of the elements of the Discharge Medicine Service, [so] there’s probably also an argument to explore whether or not pharmacy technicians could undertake elements of the new medicine service,” Mr Buxton added.

However, he predicts that pharmacy technicians will not be able to start delivering the hypertension case-finding and smoking cessation services before end of 2022.

 

“Pivotal and exciting moment”

 

NHSE&I senior professional advisor of pharmacy technician practice Liz Fidler welcomed the planned changes as a “pivotal and exciting moment”.

The amendments to legislation will allow pharmacy technicians to “use their knowledge and skills to support clinical service expansion and deliver effective healthcare for communities they serve”, Ms Fidler added.

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