There is no doubt we need a discussion about the pharmacy team and the roles and responsibilities within it, so the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) report is probably to be welcomed. I say probably, because we haven’t actually seen the report, only what the PDA has chosen to release through its website in a well-controlled manner. Namely:
Unsurprisingly, all this has rankled what I assume is an already tense relationship with our pharmacy technician colleagues and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (UK) in particular.
Now, as far as I’m concerned, the PDA is a champion of the profession and I’m usually a fan, but here the drip, drip, drip of specifically chosen messages from its own report could be viewed as manipulating that discussion. As a casual observer, it looks to me like publication bias.
Taking a closer look at some of the questions included in the survey, respondents were asked:
Unsurprisingly, the results were as follows:
Perhaps the questions could/should have been asked differently – and let’s not forget that this sample of 134 respondents represents around 0.6 per cent of registered pharmacy technicians.
The PDA is concerned that changes to supervision may affect patient safety. “There are some very serious decisions currently being considered by the [Government’s] rebalancing board in relation to the pharmacy skill mix and supervision in the community pharmacy sector,” says PDA director, Paul Day.
“These require a real understanding of the capabilities of pharmacy technicians and a ... robust mechanism for soliciting the views of grassroots pharmacists and pharmacy technicians when developing proposals that affect their futures.”
Any debate has to be open, honest and respectful. Our pharmacy technician colleagues are an essential element in the evolution of community pharmacy and we must not allow our personal concerns and insecurities to hinder their professional development.
The PDA needs to release this report so we can read it in its entirety to properly inform the debate, instead of selected snippets that only serve to foment friction.