Pharmacy Technicians

Policy topic

The RPS has made it very clear that access to a pharmacist and their ability to provide clinical assurance for safety in community pharmacies is absolutely essential. We do not want to see pharmacies run without pharmacists. We would expect a single pharmacist to have responsibility for a single pharmacy as they do now.  We want to see greater investment and job security for pharmacists in community pharmacy, enabling them to build their services for patients and the public.  We will continue to support pharmacy teams and enable them to optimise access to pharmacy services for patients.

RPS members can be assured that we have conveyed this view to the Department of Health through our membership of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board

The RPS Welsh, Scottish and English board chairs and the RPS President are united in their views on this important issue. 

Position statement

  1. The new roles and responsibilities of the Responsible Pharmacist and Superintendent Pharmacists need to be defined as a prerequisite before exploring any changes to the role of technicians. We have urged the Rebalancing Board to prioritise this area of work.
  2. Using the ethos of form follows function, we would ask that time is taken to reflect on and look at what the desired outcomes of the proposed changes to the roles of technicians are before setting out any changes.
  3. The present supply system through our community pharmacies is predominantly an efficient and safe system, supplying vast quantities of medicines safely and allowing vital interventions to be made. We would all like to see no lowering of the standard and quality of the supply of medicines and indeed we would like to see continuous quality improvement in this area.
  4. We would want to see the law constructed so as to ensure the pharmacist always has the opportunity to undertake the clinical assessment or check, and that any new law does not have gaps where this could potentially be bypassed.
  5. We would not like to see legislation that in the future could be used to operate pharmacies without pharmacists being present for anything other than very short periods of time.
  6. Many within the profession have expressed that their only frustration, that is a direct result of the present legislation, is that bagged up prescriptions cannot be handed out when the pharmacist is temporarily absent. Future legislation should look to resolve this without causing unintended consequences to patient safety or the pharmacy network.
  7. We support the need to add value to medicines use to further enhance patient safety and the optimisation of medicines – reducing harm, waste and improving the patient outcome and experience.
  8. We would like to see consistent and recognised levels of training and competency for Pharmacy technicians to achieve before undertaking any enhanced roles such as Accuracy Checking Technicians, and whatever other roles may emerge.

We believe that the appropriate balance of legislation and regulation is best achieved through constructive dialogue.

We believe these principles can be used to guide any changes through the Rebalancing Board, or elsewhere, and are committed to working with RPS members, the wider profession and the Government on positive changes to the legislation that will safeguard patients and enable the development of the professional role of pharmacists into the future.