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PDA: Pharmacy technicians should sit a GPhC registration exam

Mark Koziol
Mark Koziol said an exam would enable pharmacists to delegate to pharmacy technicians

Pharmacy technicians should sit a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration exam if their roles are to advance, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has argued.

PDA chair Mark Koziol told C+D last week (September 24) that the exam would be necessary if pharmacists are to delegate more tasks to pharmacy technicians so they can engage in more patient-facing roles (see video below).

The PDA also recommended pharmacy technicians have a minimum entry requirement of five C-grade GCSEs, as well as a National Vocational Qualification of four or five, in a report published last month (September 20).

“There is widespread variation in the quality and nature of the initial education and training provided to pharmacy technicians,” the PDA said in its report.

“The regulatory standards for such are open to interpretation. They have been outdated for a considerable period of time and are of questionable relevance.”

Mr Koziol told C+D that due to this variation in training, “pharmacists delegating tasks to pharmacy technicians put themselves at risk”.

C+D has asked the GPhC for its view on the PDA’s proposals.

Watch Mr Koziol explain the PDA's recommendations below:

Should pharmacists be able to delegate more tasks to pharmacy technicians?

Mark Koziol is right as usual in what he says. But until the role of the technician is clearly defined by legislation then I can't see the point of a registration exam at the moment.

I think technicians have such a varying role depending on where they work, it's hard to standardise how they should be examined. Compare hospital techs, community techs, CCG techs etc. and you are almost talking about completely different jobs. The PDA sum it up well "There is widespread variation in the quality and nature of the initial education and training provided to pharmacy technicians".

And within the community sector the pay can vary a lot, I've seen pay as low as £8.70 for NVQ 3 and as high as £13 per hour. I can't imagine many people wanting to bother with a registration exam, CPD and any extra responsibility if it isn't reflected in their pay.


Leon The Apothecary, Student

Genuine question, what can a technician do that a dispenser cannot, and how important would you say that is?

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

In community pharmacy the techician and dispenser jobs are very much the same obviously its the ACT role that is different.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

High as £13? Youch, the highest I have seen is £22 as a locum accuracy checking technician in a hospital. The net is wide indeed.

fatnose pansies, Sales

look at all the government officials, employers and techs scrambling to support this idea


maybe they just want cheaper staff? tell everyone techs are professionals and nobody will worry

Andy Burrells, Community pharmacist

And cue the Techs....

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Sssh, we're talking about them, not to them!

James Mason, Administration & Support

How dare they have input into their future! 

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

I have had some really unnerving and frightful experiences in my travels.....there's nothing riskier than a "technician" who thinks they know it all..and oh they do!  but could barely tell the difference between calpol and calcough and believe me they are out there ! Its long overdue

S Rashid, Primary care pharmacist

Once again the PDA is right on the money. 

A Long Serving Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I have worked as a Locum with various technicians and dispensing assistants. Some are good, some are great and some are appalling. The different companies have differing standards of training and some use barely trained counter assistants in dispensing roles. I agree there should be some standardisation across the UK for technicians, in the same way as pharmacists all have to pass the same exam. A regristration exam would set the bar for all the various training organisations to aim for. At least when I go to a pharmacy and someone claims to be a technician I shall then be able to have some idea of their basic competency, rather than nervously watching to see what they are doing. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I certainly agree a standard level for technicians is paramount. I've certainly seen Techs who barely know how to endorse a prescription, compared to dispensing assistants who have an impressive knowledge of their BNF and how to apply it regularly to their workloads. 

We're always going to get variances in standards to some degree. See the infamous "Sunday Pharmacist". 

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