What is a Pharmacy Technician?


Pharmacy technicians are senior members of the pharmacy team who manage and prepare the supply of medicines and give advice to patients and customers. Pharmacy technicians complement the work of clinical pharmacists through the utilisation of their technical skillset. They carry out some similar tasks as a pharmacist, working directly with patients and other healthcare professionals. Their deployment within primary care settings allows the application of their acquired pharmaceutical knowledge in tasks such as audits, discharge management, prescription issuing, and where appropriate, informing patients and other members of the PCN workforce. Work is often under the direction of clinical pharmacists, and this benefit is often realised through the creation of a PCN pharmacy team.

What do Pharmacy Technicians do? 

  • • Taking in and handing out prescriptions
    • Dispensing prescriptions
    • Using computer systems to generate stock lists and labels
    • Ordering items
    • Receiving, loading, unloading deliveries
    • Delivering medicines to other parts of a hospital or health centre
    • Selling over-the-counter medicines
    • Answering customers questions face to face or by phone
    • Pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
    • Preparing medicines
    • Referring problems or queries to the pharmacist


How do Pharmacy Technicians fit into the NHS Workforce?


Pharmacy technicians can practise, provide advice on medicines and review patients medicine history independently. Pharmacy technicians play an important role, complementing clinical pharmacists, community pharmacists and other members of the PCN multi-disciplinary team. Pharmacy technicians are different to clinical pharmacists as they are not able to prescribe or make clinical decisions, instead working under supervision to ensure effective and efficient use of medicines.

How can they help pharmacists/ the system? 


Pharmacy technicians increase the numbers of the Primary Care workforce and increase access to quality care for patients. They act in an enabling role, helping to reduce the healthcare team’s workload. They bring new talent to the NHS and add to the skill mix within the teams.

What training and qualifications do Pharmacy technicians have?


Pharmacy technicians already hold a BTEC National Diploma in pharmaceutical science/NVQ/SVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy Services/ National Certificate in pharmaceutical science to be registered with the general pharmaceutical council to apply for roles in Primary Care. To become a pharmacy technician, students take a 2-year training programme combining practical work experience with study, either at college or by distance learning covering courses; human physiology, disease management, actions and uses of medicine pharmacy manufacturing, pharmacy law. Registered pharmacy technicians must keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development. The new initial education and training standards for pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians were published in 2017 and the Pharmacy Integration Fund (PhIF) are currently funding a pilot programme which includes training rotations in general practice.

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