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NHS England: 'Only matter of time' before technicians join PCNs

NHS England's Richard Cattell and Alison Hemsworth presenting at the APTUK conference
NHS England's Richard Cattell and Alison Hemsworth presenting at the APTUK conference

It is “only a matter of time” before pharmacy technicians join primary care networks (PCNs), NHS England’s assistant head of primary care policy has said.

Although there is currently no funding allocated to recruit pharmacy technicians to PCNs – groups of local GP practices covering an average of 50,000 people – NHS England is looking to see whether “there’s room to put pharmacy technicians into the reimbursement model”, Alison Hemsworth, NHS England’s assistant head of primary care policy for pharmacy and dispensing doctors, said last week (September 13).

Also speaking at the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) annual conference in Birmingham, Wasim Baqir, NHS England national pharmacy lead for care homes, told delegates that while “no formal decisions” have taken place to include pharmacy technicians as part of the “PCN reimbursable workforce”, he suggested “discussions to include them are underway”.

Ms Hemsworth said it would not be long before pharmacy technicians join PCNs, but she and Richard Cattell, NHS England deputy chief pharmaceutical officer – who presented a national policy update at the APTUK conference – were unable to confirm the timeline for this to happen.

“I've been a great advocate of [pharmacy technicians joining PCNs] and I think there's a great deal of support for it, but there's a process to go through to land it,” he said in response to a question from the audience.

Mr Cattell also warned at the conference that it will be a “really big challenge” to recruit the planned 7,500 “clinical” pharmacists to PCNs.

Do you think pharmacy technicians should be included in PCNs?

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

Pharmacy Technicians would make brilliant prescription clerk/co ordinators.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

TODAY: """'Only matter of time' before technicians join PCNs"""

IN A COUPLE OF YEARS: 'Only matter of time' before DISPENSING is moved to PCNs.' !!!

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

And in Few Years: ""Only Matter of Time before Community Pharmacy dissappears from the UK Map"""

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Give em hell at the pharmacy show. These NHS England representatives always come prepared, hopefully this year they will get fully exposed like Boris did the other day and the truth will come out. This time I can only hope its more direct than what happened to Boris the other day! 

Mohammed Zeeshan, Locum pharmacist

Why are pharmacists and technicians viewed on the same pedestal. Absolute joke.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Their salaries aresimilar.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I think we should celebrate the progression and recognition that Technicians appear to be striving for and challenge the body for Pharmacists to do the same.

Technicians can offer a different and unique viewpoint compared to Pharmacists and would be able to contribute much.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

No-one is putting down technicians but I think a qualification which takes no more than 12 months of on-the job work to obtain compared to one that takes five years of full time education speaks for itself.

Alexsandro De souza , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I don’t think you know what you are talking about . Takes one year just to be a dispenser only after that you can do a pharmacy technician and it Takes MINIMUM of TWO YEARS. Working in the pharmacy. I minimum of 3 years but working in the pharmacy seem the real problems not in a classroom for 4 years then one year working, and many don’t even know how to deal with patients and problems. 


Mohammed Zeeshan, Locum pharmacist

Give it a break,just tell me how many GCSE u have,seriously its like comparing a receptionist to a GP. a one trick pony.sorry for the rant but pharmacy as a profession is just so frustrating.

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