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Keith Ridge praises pharmacy technicians in open letter

Ridge: More should be done to increase the recruitment of pharmacy technicians
Ridge: More should be done to increase the recruitment of pharmacy technicians

On Pharmacy Technician Day, England chief pharmaceutical officer (CPO) Keith Ridge has published an open letter praising the work of pharmacy technicians.

Mr Ridge thanked pharmacy technicians for “their incredible contribution to and support for excellent patient care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic so far” in a letter addressed to Liz Fidler, president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK).

“I have been impressed by the many examples of leadership, delivery and sheer fortitude that have been shown by pharmacy technician colleagues across all parts of the NHS and these are deserving of great praise,” the letter, published today (October 20), said.

In the letter, Mr Ridge also highlighted the “great future ahead” for the profession, which is “critical to the functioning” of pharmacies and to NHS medicines optimisation, he said.

Ms Fidler told C+D today: “Receiving this letter on World Pharmacy Technician Day demonstrates the recognition by Mr Ridge of the role pharmacy technicians have in contributing to better patient care health outcomes and pharmacy services”.

Developments for the profession

Mr Ridge said that, together with APTUK, several initiatives have been developed that bolster the role of pharmacy technicians.

These include the decision to add the profession to the list of roles that primary care networks (PCNs) receive reimbursement for, making PCNs “able to recruit pharmacy technicians into general practices, meaning there will be hundreds more in post in the next four years”.

Pharmacy technicians have also been added to the Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway, a programme delivered by the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education and providing training to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working for PCNs.

Work needs to go further, with the support of APTUK, to ensure more pharmacy technicians are recruited, to “maximise the potential of the clinical role of pharmacy technicians in the NHS, increase the numbers of those seeking professional registration and ensure support for APTUK as the professional body”, Mr Ridge added.

Ms Fidler told C+D that APTUK looks “forward to supporting the aspirations in the letter”.

Honouring the profession on #RxTechDay

Northern Ireland CPO Cathy Harrison also lauded pharmacy technicians on social media.

Several pharmacy bodies and professionals sang their praises on Twitter, including Community Pharmacy Wales and Alison Strath, the interim CPO for Scotland.

In a video posted on Twitter, Ms Fidler invited pharmacy technicians to “take a moment today to celebrate all [that’s] great about being a pharmacy technician and also take time to recognise a professional colleague who stood shoulder to shoulder with you at this time”.

How are you celebrating your pharmacy technicians?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

There's a lot of potential future for Pharmacy Technicians, especially outside of the dispensary. I am looking forward to seeing how their roles are developed further.

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The RPS ought to strip him of the Fellowship

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Ridge is a fifth columnist and an enemy of community pharmacy. His funding cuts have caused the closure of many hundreds of pharmacies, with thousands more to follow. Do not believe any kind words he says, they are designed to distract you from his and his bosses at NHS England's closure agenda.

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

How many?? only a couple of hundred by multiples, probably due to consolidation and re-organisation.

Unfounded alarmist cries as usual. we wait with baited breath for mass closures.

Pigs will probably be flying before that happens!



Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The actual number of net closures is over 400 so far and the rate is increasing. In Sheffield where I am based we have had one 17,000 item per month pharmacy close already and  a 15,000 item per month pharmacy is to close at the end of this month. If they are not viable, then no pharmacy is. The closure rate is only set to accelerate.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

How the fudge are they not viable?

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Empty words. He praised pharmacist 'from the bottom of my heart'. I suggested he praises us from the 'bottom of his pocket'. His CV shows he has very little experience of community pharmacy, hence his disastrous policy decisions

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Slight typo, it's Dr Keith Ridge. And look what his did his PhD in...

Dara Hughes, Community pharmacist

Good for them. Some clear cut respect and recognition for hard working technicians. 

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