Pharmacy technicians have hit back at pharmacists' rejection of a proposal to allow them to supply medicines under patient group directions (PGDs).
The Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK) said there was "strong evidence" technicians could deliver safe services under a PGD if supported correctly, in response to a PDA poll showing that 96 per cent of pharmacists were against adding technicians to the list of health professionals who can operate under the scheme.
Almost 60 per cent of the 1,300 community pharmacists who responded to the Pharmacists Defence Association (PDA) poll in July cited technicians' lack of an appropriate professional relationship or accountability as the reason why they should not be added to the list.
APTUK claims that pharmacy technicians are 'fully accountable' health professionals, despite the concerns of pharmacists
More on PGDs
However, the APTUK said last week (August 16) that pharmacy technicians were "fully accountable" as health professionals.
"Pharmacy technicians have demonstrated in a number of settings that, given the opportunity, they are perfectly able to have a proper and effective professional relationship with patients and other healthcare professionals," APTUK said.
APTUK also rejected concerns that adding technicians to the list would blur their role with pharmacists and that a lack of training would render the service ineffective.
However, any new role for technicians should be the subject of "rigorous risk assessment and risk management process", the group stressed. It also noted that there may be some PGDs that technicians could not be included in.
The process of developing PGDs would ensure technicians would require appropriate training before they were able to operate under them, APTUK said.
"Similar concerns were raised at the prospect of pharmacy technicians taking on final accuracy checking and patient-facing medicines management roles. All of these concerns proved unfounded with no negative impact on patient safety," it added.
Pharmacy technician Benjamin Leon D'Montigny said he was disappointed by the "overwhelmingly negative" response by pharmacists, but accepted there were some valid concerns.
"Give technicians the opportunity to prove themselves to the pharmacists we help. If you as pharmacist are not comfortable personally with your technician using a PGD, then you have control to say no," he posted on the C+D website earlier this month.
The PDA said it stood by the concerns raised by its members. "Our members have spoken and we stand by our statistics," PDA director John Murphy told C+D on Monday (August 19).
The Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) used its response to draft Nice guidance on PGDs to call for pharmacy technicians to be added to the list of healthcare professionals who can supply medicines under PGDs. The PDA ran the poll to see how many pharmacists agreed with this view, PDA chairman Mark Koziol told C+D in June.
What do you think of APTUK's position on technicians using PGDs?