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APTUK hits back at RPS’s proposal to represent pharmacy technicians

The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) has said it was not consulted on the RPS’s recent suggestion that it could start to represent pharmacy technicians as well as pharmacists.

APTUK announced on Twitter yesterday morning (October 6) that it had decided to review the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS) “rather surprising” suggestion, which was made in its submission to the UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership.

Read more: RPS proposes widening membership to include pharmacy technicians

“For the avoidance of doubt, APTUK did not contribute, nor were we consulted on the content of this submission,” it specified in its statement that evening.

The RPS has been contacted for comment.


Pharmacy technicians “responsible for own practice”


Pharmacy technicians are “registered professionals responsible for their own, autonomous practice”, APTUK president Claire Steele wrote in the statement.

“It would not be conducive for harmonious professional relationships for one profession to assume responsibility for another,” she said.

Such a model is not followed by any other healthcare profession, she pointed out.


RPS lacks understanding of profession


APTUK feels that the RPS submission “demonstrates a lack of understanding of the pharmacy technician profession”.

The RPS put forward suggestions for how pharmacy technicians could support pharmacists – for instance, through the “sourcing, dispensing, distribution, and storage of medicines; managing prescription systems; and directly supporting patients to use their medicines through advice and education”.

But these are tasks that have already been carried out by pharmacy technicians for a long time, which means the RPS’s position is not “future facing” and risks perpetuating the “notion that this is all [technicians] can do”, Ms Steele added.

APTUK will continue to work with other organisations as an “equal partner” and will review future proposed changes for pharmacy professional leadership, she said.

Several APTUK members have since taken to social media to show support for the organisation’s stance.

The RPS published its response to a call for evidence by the UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership earlier this week (October 5).

Read more: Former GPhC chair heads up commission on pharmacy professional leadership

In its submission, it argued that forming a single leadership body for both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians would “amplify pharmacy’s collective professional voice to employers, other professions, and governments”.

Earlier this year, the RPS came under fire following the restructure of its top team, which saw the departures of former pharmacy and membership experience director Robbie Turner and director of education and professional development Gail Fleming, to be replaced by a single person.

Meanwhile, in January, an online petition launched by a former RPS board member calling for greater transparency within the organisation gained over 500 signatures.

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