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NHSE launches training scheme for 840 pharmacy technicians

NHSE has announced the launch of a fully funded training programme for pharmacy technicians that will drive them to “take on more responsibility” in dispensing medicines and delivering clinical services.

NHS England (NHSE) revealed yesterday (August 16) that, from September, 840 pharmacy technicians will be able to apply for a scheme that will “broaden” the scope of their practice.

The fully funded course will combine online modules, education supervision and clinical skills training. Pharmacy technicians will learn in “facilitated workshops” that will focus on clinical assessment skills, and will apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills in case studies, practice activities, and group discussion, according to NHSE.

Read more: What does the NHS workforce plan really mean for pharmacy staffing issues?

It said that the online modules will cover consultations, therapeutics, clinical decision-making, assessment skills and service improvement. 

It follows legislative amendments in April that gave pharmacy technicians the power to deliver blood pressure checks for hypertension case-finding and smoking cessation services. 


Role broadened to make most of technicians’ “potential”


With pharmacists increasingly expected to take on additional roles as prescribers, pharmacy technicians will be needed to take on “new clinical and technical roles”, according to England’s chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb.

“The scope of practice for pharmacy technicians is being broadened to make the most effective use of their skills, training and potential,” he said.

Matthew Shaw, director of the Centre for Postgraduate Pharmacy Education (CPPE), said that the organisation was “delighted” to offer places in the programme.

Read more: Two-thirds of contractors say it's ‘very difficult’ to fill pharmacist roles

Mr Shaw said that the training will build “capability and capacity” in community pharmacy teams.

And pharmacy minister Neil O’Brien said that the new training programme will support the upcoming launch of the nationwide Pharmacy First initiative.

It comes after the publication of NHS long term workforce plan, which is “backed by over £2.4 billion over the next five years”, a portion of which will fund additional education and training places.

The plan, published in late June, set out plans to “continue to grow the pharmacy technician workforce to ensure expansion of this professional group to support growth and transformation across the pharmacy workforce”.

C+D contacted the Association of Pharmacy Technicians United Kingdom (APTUK), the national professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians, for comment.


ACPT training programme


Earlier this month (August 2), CPPE announced 60 new NHSE-funded places on an accuracy checking pharmacy technician (ACPT) training programme.

Read more: CPPE announces 60 fully-funded accuracy checking technician training places

CPPE said at the time that the programme was designed to assure employers that pharmacy technicians who have completed the course are “able to undertake the role and have the appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviours to deliver high-quality, consistent checks of medicines”.

On August 4, C+D reported that across integrated care systems (ICSs), an average of 44% of contractors found it “very difficult” to fill pharmacist technician roles.

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