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Pharmacy technicians granted powers to deliver more clinical services

Pharmacy technicians can now deliver blood pressure checks for hypertension case-finding and smoking cessation services, thanks to legislative amendments.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) this week (April 4) announced that the drug tariff and the pharmaceutical services advanced and enhanced services directions have been amended to give greater powers to technicians.

“Pharmacy technicians are now able to perform blood pressure checks as part of the hypertension case-finding service and deliver the smoking cessation service (SCS),” it said.

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

The legislative updates, made last week (March 28) and published by the NHS Business Service Authority (NHSBSA), mean that pharmacy technicians became legally permitted to provide both services from April 1, PSNC told C+D.

However, the service specifications for both services are still “going through NHS England’s (NHSE) publication process”, it added.


“A very welcome development”


The changes were first announced as part of the deal for years four and five of the community pharmacy contract.

At the time, PSNC said that it had reached an agreement with the government and NHSE that service specifications for the two services would be “amended to allow delivery by pharmacy technicians”.

Read more: How to optimise your smoking cessation service

However, it said that secondary legislation would also have to change so that pharmacy technicians could help out with more clinical services and that this would be unlikely before the end of 2022.

NHSE said in September that the planned changes were a “pivotal and exciting moment”.

Read more: How to optimise your hypertension case-finding service

PSNC CEO Janet Morrison yesterday (April 5) said that the amendments are “a very welcome development that should help ease capacity in the longer term”, alongside recent VAT changes on services carried out by non-registered pharmacy staff.

The negotiator “has long been an advocate for better use of the skill mix in pharmacy teams”, she added.


“Still a long way to go”


But Ms Morrison stressed that there “is still a long way to go in easing the capacity burden on exhausted pharmacy teams”.

“Bigger and more immediate financial and operational challenges remain unresolved”, she said.

Read more: UPDATED: Halt PQS until pharmacy funded fairly, PSNC tells government

“Regrettably we have had to tell the NHS that there is currently no capacity to deliver any more services without additional funding,” she added.

PSNC is currently updating its resources for both clinical services, it added.

It comes as Boots is offering free “health MOTs” – including blood pressure checks -for over-40s until June, while Tesco pharmacy will offer around half a million free blood pressure checks across the UK this year.

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