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Pharmacy technicians to supply medicines under PGDs

Pharmacy News

Pharmacy technicians to supply medicines under PGDs

Pharmacy technicians in England, Scotland and Wales are to be given new powers to supply and administer medicines under patient group directions (PGDs).

The Department of Health and Social Care announced today (March 28) that it plans to update the relevant legislation.

The move follows a public consultation that found widespread support for giving new powers to pharmacy technicians “to cut bureaucracy and support more efficient patient care”, according to DHSC.

“The move will streamline processes within pharmacy settings and improve patient experiences,” said health minister Andrea Leadsom.

The changes will potentially enable pharmacy technicians to undertake tasks like administering vaccinations and providing consultations under Pharmacy First, said DHSC. This would free up pharmacists’ time, allowing them to deliver more patient-facing clinical services and improving access to primary care services.

“We want to give patients faster, simpler and fairer access to the care they need, when they need it – and giving these powers to pharmacy technicians will do just that,” said Ms Leadsom.

The news received a broadly positive response across the sector.

Nicola Stockmann, president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK, said: “This is a landmark moment for the expansion of access for patients to pharmacy services in a pressured healthcare landscape without compromising patient care.”

Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “[This] will increase capacity for pharmacy teams and further support consistency of services being offered within pharmacy. It will support transformational change within pharmacy teams and enable the further evolution of the pharmacist’s role into more complex clinical care.”

However, it is essential that the accountability and professional responsibility of pharmacy technicians is clearly understood in situations where PGDs are being used, she added.

There are currently over 25,500 pharmacy technicians working in pharmacies across England, Scotland and Wales.

Earlier this week, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association wrote to Ms Leadsom to express its concern that pharmacy technicians being given certain clinical roles and enjoying “parity of esteem” with pharmacists is “unrealistic” and “potentially dangerous for patients” due to the different education and training requirements of the two professional groups.

The PDA is clear that in the interests of patient safety there must be a distinction between clinical activities (undertaken by a pharmacist) and technical activities (undertaken by a pharmacy technician).

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