Techs to lose pharmacist supervision requirement

two pharmacists

Pre-registration pharmacy technicians will no longer require pharmacist supervision from August, Britain’s General Pharmaceutical Council says

The UK announcement comes as pharmacists in Australia debate whether or not the profession has handed over too much of the pharmacist role to non-pharmacists.

In 2016, the UK’s GPhC proposed that trainee technicians could be supervised by other technicians, instead of a pharmacist.

It said that in environments when a pharmacist not be in attendance, allowing pre-regs to train under technicians could legitimise their training, Chemist + Druggist revealed at the time.

Now, the UK’s pharmacy publication reports that at last week’s council meeting, the GPhC proposed that the change take place from August 31, 2018, due to the timing of the UK’s academic year.  

On this date current, or recently registered pharmacists will also cease to be able to automatically register as a pharmacy technician.

The GPhC had conducted a consultation on training standards and education for pharmacy techs, with results showing significant support for allowing technicians to supervise pre-registered technicians.

C+D readers did not seem convinced that the move was for the best.

“Am I being silly here?” wrote one reader, a dispenser manager/dispensing assistant. “In the SOP’s it clearly states ‘Responsible Pharmacist’ with all the rules and regulations regarding this. if Technicians no longer have to defer to a pharmacist, will they be signing a ‘Responsible technician’ sign in and out each day? I really don’t feel comfortable with this at all.”

“A dispenser feels offended that to become a technician they have to learn from a pharmacist?” wrote a community pharmacist. “Isn’t this the best, for patient-safety amongst other reasons?”

Another community pharmacist felt that the change had a more sinister intent.

“The long term plan is to replace pharmacist with technicians to manage and control cost by multiples and increase profit margin and dividend payments to their shareholders,” they commented.

“The pharmacist will eventually be humiliated out of the profession, standing on the counter, selling toiletries, painkiller and sleep aid.”

Do you feel that in Australia, the pharmacy profession has passed on too much of its dispensing role to pharmacy technicians and assistants? Tell us in our poll here.

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  1. United we stand

    So in terms of accountability, who can be sued for a fatal dispense error? The pharmacy owner, the dispensing technician or the pharmacist in charge?

    • Expat In Blighty

      Always the pharmacist in charge (termed “Responsible Pharmacist” in the UK – all the blame and none of the powers to change any working conditions).

      They also have tried to enable technicians to legally give out prescription only medicines (ie no pharmacist required). Thankfully quite a backlash to when that was proposed recently so it was taken off the table…for now.

  2. Cogrady

    Wrong on every level.

  3. Cogrady

    Responsible Pharmacist” in the UK – all the blame and none of the powers to change any working conditions).
    That’s already happening here .We have to make the companies and the hospital system responsible to Aphra for our working conditions and the consequences of them not the employee or contractor.

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