Northern Ireland to recognise pharmacy technicians as a profession
Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann has approved work to start bringing pharmacy technicians under professional regulation by the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.
This follows a consultation earlier this year on proposals to regulate pharmacy technicians, with the 113 responses to the public consultation indicating broad support.
Those expressing support for the proposals pointed out the disparity between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and argued that professional status will serve to recognise the increasingly important role pharmacy technicians play in healthcare and assist their career progression.
Professional fees, salary levels and insurance were some of the factors cited by those who disagreed with the proposals.
Mr Swann said: “I am pleased to begin establishing pharmacy technicians as a regulated healthcare profession in Northern Ireland.
“This will be a key enabler to enhancing the contribution that pharmacy technicians can make to the delivery of healthcare across all settings.
“It will allow the regulator to strengthen its role in protecting patients and promoting high standards, thereby enhancing the public’s confidence and trust in pharmacy practice/
“While there are many practical issues to be worked through with stakeholders and legislative change required, I have now instructed my department’s officials to develop a detailed project plan to bring about the statutory regulation of pharmacy technicians by the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.”
Chief pharmaceutical officer Cathy Harrison welcomed the report, which she described as a “further step towards meeting our ambitions for the development of the pharmacy workforce as set out in the pharmacy workforce review”.
“Our population is best served by full utilisation of the skillset of all members of the pharmacy team to ensure that people get the most from their medicines every day,” Ms Harrison added.