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New training launching to expand pharmacy technician role

16 August 2023

Hundreds of pharmacy staff will be able to to deliver more clinical services and take on more responsibility in dispensing medicines, thanks to new NHS training.

Launching in September, up to 840 pharmacy technicians will be able to apply for the training.

The online learning modules will cover consultation skills, therapeutics, clinical decision making and assessment skills as well as service improvement.

The training will enable pharmacy technicians to take on greater responsibility in their teams, while more pharmacists continue to train as independent prescribers.

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.

It comes after the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan highlighted the importance of pharmacy technicians and set out ambitions to grow the workforce in the coming years.

David Webb, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England, said:

“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.

“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. Independent prescribing by all newly qualified community pharmacists from 2026 will open up new horizons supported by new clinical and technical roles for pharmacy technicians.”

Matthew Shaw, Director of CPPE, said:

“Community pharmacy remains the most accessible part of the health service in many areas of England and more people choose to use their pharmacy first to gain expert advice and support.

“We are delighted to offer 840 places through this progamme; building the capability and capacity of community pharmacy services even further by extending and strengthening the roles of all registered members of the pharmacy team. Our heritage of developing team work in community pharmacy and engaging pharmacy technicians in learning continues to pay dividends for improved person-centred care and patient safety.”

Liz Fidler, Senior Professional Advisor Pharmacy Technician Practice at NHS England said:

“The opportunity for community pharmacy technicians to undertake this post-registration training will build on their existing knowledge and skills as registered healthcare practitioners. Enabling them to enhance and expand services for patients and fulfil their potential, as we reform skill mix and support new ways of working to ensure we are providing the best possible care for patients and communities.”

Minister Neil O’Brien said:

“Community pharmacies play a vital role in local areas and this new training scheme means they can deliver more services for more patients.

“By investing in the workforce, we’re supporting the roll-out of the Pharmacy First initiative with £645 million to ensure patients can get expert help for a range of common illnesses such as urinary tract infections and earaches.

“This comes after we published the first ever NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, backed by over £2.4 billion over the next five years, to support and grow the workforce and fund additional education and training places, including thousands more training places for pharmacists and a commitment to grow the pharmacy technician workforce.”