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New training programme for pharmacy technicians


New training programme for pharmacy technicians

NHS England will launch a series of online training modules next month to help pharmacy technicians widen their skills and deliver more clinical services.

The modules, which start on September 28, will train pharmacy technicians to improve their consultation skills and will also cover areas such as therapeutics, clinical decision-making, assessment skills and service improvement.

Up to 840 pharmacy technicians can apply for a fully funded training place which NHSE said will help them “to take on greater responsibility in their teams while more pharmacists continue to train as independent prescribers.”

NHSE said: “Training will be flexible to accommodate the working patterns and prior experience of pharmacy technicians in community pharmacy.

“It will combine independent online e-course study, education supervision and clinical skills training, with facilitated workshops focusing on clinical assessment skills and application of knowledge and skills through case studies, practice activities, and group discussion.”

However, Company Chemists’ Association chief executive Malcolm Harrison said 840 training places was not enough given the much larger number of pharmacy technicians working in community pharmacy.

“The 840 training spaces only addresses a small part of the overall need. The recent Health Education England workforce survey reported that there are over 6,000 pharmacy technicians," he said.

“It is therefore critical that those fortunate enough to benefit from this training can put their new skills to use in practice. This will require the commissioning of new clinical services from community pharmacies.”

Harrison called for "legislative changes to release capacity" and allow pharmacy technicians "to do more as part of the pharmacy team." For instance, he said, pharmacy technicians should be able to supply medicines and services through patient group directions.

"Ultimately, we want to see the NHS ambitiously commission further services to ensure the skills of the entire pharmacy workforce, including technicians, are harnessed. In turn, this will provide pharmacy businesses the confidence they need to invest even more in the further development of their pharmacy teams," Harrrison added.

England’s chief pharmaceutical officer David Webb said the training will help pharmacy technicians take on more responsibility as more pharmacists become independent prescribers and see their own roles expand.

“As is the case with many healthcare professions, the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians is being broadened to make the most effective use of their skills, training and potential as registered, multi-professional healthcare team members,” Webb said.

“The ambition in community pharmacy is to continue to expand the clinical role of community pharmacy professionals in patient care pathways, providing more services in prevention, urgent care and long-term condition management and playing an important role in addressing health inequalities in the population.”

The training is being offered through the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education who said the programme consists of; 

  • a four-month self-directed e-course comprised of six modules
  • a learning needs assessment at the start of the programme
  • an initial meeting with a CPPE education supervisor to discuss learning needs and form an action plan
  • about 4-6 hours of learning each week
  • one face-to-face workshop on clinical assessment skills
  • workplace practice of clinical assessment skills to be signed off in practice
  • a mandatory two-hour evening workshop for reflection in month four
  • and optional monthly one-hour peer support sessions.
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