Most pharmacy technicians don’t want to take responsibility for supervising pharmacies, a new survey for the Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) says.
The survey of pharmacy technicians was conducted was undertaken after the government’s Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation programme board agreed in principle to proposals for pharmacy technicians to supervise other pharmacy staff, and the sale and supply of Prescription-only Medicine (POM), Pharmacy Medicine (P) and General Sale List (GSL) medicines to patients, including in the absence of a pharmacist. Interviews were carried out in March 2018.
The results of the survey show that 86% of pharmacy technicians interviewed wouldn’t supervise POM sales in the absence of a pharmacist; 80% wouldn’t supervise P or GSL sales if a pharmacist wasn’t there; and 87% wouldn’t supervise other pharmacy staff in the absence of a pharmacist.
“We don’t have pharmacy technicians in membership, but we still don’t want to see those colleagues placed in inappropriate situations” commented Paul Day, PDA Director. “We can see the problems in other public services where junior colleagues without the necessary skills or competence have been asked to fulfil professional roles as a cost-cutting exercise. It is bad for them and sees a reduction in standards. Just think of entire school classes being “taught” by teaching assistants. In the case of pharmacy, an adverse effect on patient safety through changes to supervision would be simply unacceptable.”
The PDA is concerned that the rebalancing board have not discussed the proposals with the pharmacy profession or pharmacy technicians. The board has consistently refused to allow the PDA, which is now the biggest pharmacists’ membership organisation, to join.