DH warned: Dispensing assistants could replace technicians

APTUK raised "concerns" about technician roles with the DH last year
APTUK raised "concerns" about technician roles with the DH last year

The pharmacy technician role could be "at risk" as contractors look to offset the funding cuts, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) has warned.

APTUK told the Department of Health (DH) it is concerned that “the pharmacy technician role may be replaced with a dispensing assistant to reduce staffing budgets”, the association’s president Tess Fenn said.

APTUK is also concerned that “training placements for pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians will reduce or be put on hold”, Ms Fenn told C+D last week (April 11).

This “deskilling” of pharmacy teams might result in “a detrimental impact on patient safety and workplace pressure”, she warned.

The association raised these concerns with DH last year, and APTUK is monitoring the situation now that the funding cuts in England have come into force, Ms Fenn said. 

However, the “real impact [of the funding cuts] is yet to be known”, she added.

DH acknowledges concerns

The DH acknowledged the APTUK’s “concerns” in a 38-page report – released internally in October 2016 and revealed during the High Court hearing last month – and said it had “asked the APTUK to monitor” the “demand for education and training of pharmacy technicians”.

However, Ms Fenn refuted the claim, adding that APTUK has “not been formally asked” by the DH to monitor the situation.

Nevertheless, APTUK will “be looking for trends”, she said. If it becomes “apparent” that demand is affected, this will be "raised” with the DH again, she said.

“Pharmacy technicians – as regulated, registered, accountable and responsible professionals – can contribute to the delivery of integrated person-centred care,” Ms Fenn said.

Have the funding cuts jeopardised pharmacy technicians' jobs?

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

Most technicians that I have worked in community pharmacy with are seriously considering whether or not to remain on the register.  In the main thay gain very little in pay rates and have to comply with the CPD requirements for the GPhC.  With the proposed new revalidation process coming in the near future involving the peer discussion and a "case study" to do with one of the new standards for pharmacy they are not convinced that the rewards make it worth while.  They have no career progression, unlike technicians in hospital, and the funding cuts in community are making it hareder to find a post as a technician.

Amal England, Public Relations

What about the financial implications for a technician...... If the pharmacist's pay is going to continue to tumble then why hire a technician when you can have a pharmacist for the same price?

Amal England, Public Relations

..... i trust in hope to stop this nightmare continuing

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Waste of time anybody 'raising concerns' with the DoH (or the GPhC/MHRA/anyone else for that matter)!  Do you think they give a monkeys? You're 'avin a laugh...

Lucas Perez, Student


What do you mean could?

Already happening !! 

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