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PDA responds to APTUK/PCPA consultation on possible national competency framework for primary care pharmacy technicians

The PDA has responded to a draft “National Competency Framework for Primary Care Pharmacy Technicians” (NCF) which was jointly proposed for consultation by APTUK and PCPA.

Thu 29th October 2020 The PDA

The NCF detailed competencies for technicians who may wish to work or are working within primary care.

The PDA fully appreciates that pharmacy technicians are valued colleagues who work alongside pharmacists every day; they are often the friends, family and the fellow employees working together as a team. We believe it is important that pharmacy technicians have rewarding jobs with career development, job security, respect at work and fair reward, just as these things are important for pharmacists and want to positively contribute to debate about improvements to those roles.

We believe that to be successfully implemented any proposal for a national competency framework must stand up to scrutiny from the regulators, general public as well as the pharmacy profession. Such a framework must add value, and be seen to add value, to the sector and to patient care. Such proposals could enhance the contribution of the sector and in particular, the role of pharmacy technicians, which in turn could impact upon the value employers place upon technicians and thus benefit those individuals who perform the role.

However, we believe the framework that has been the subject of this consultation, needs significant work and a further consultation in order to achieve that objective. Part of that significant work would mean the APTUK, which has previously published a foundation level framework, should first complete the advanced level framework which has been in development for nearly three years.

The NCF leapfrogged this unfinished advanced level framework. The proposed NCF would sit much better as part of a structured progression of learning starting with the foundation, then advanced and then the NCF. This NCF describes the competencies and training for pharmacy technicians that would supposedly allow them to undertake a wide range of advanced clinical work within primary care within a timeframe of 18 months from start to finish.

Given that the role of pharmacists within primary care is evolving, it was apparent that the wide-reaching scope of the NCF could only be described as an overly ambitious attempt to stake a claim on the emerging landscape. Rather than working with clinical pharmacists, it was apparent that the NCF was seeking to duplicate or replace the work that was already being done by clinical pharmacists.

The PDA response, principally based on patient safety concerns, recommended:

  • That the NCF be re-written to reflect the support role that technicians can rightly play in supporting clinical pharmacists in primary care
  • The NCF had to reflect (by way of the scope) the limited underlying clinical and science knowledge of the current level 3 standard IET for pharmacy technicians
  • That the IET for pharmacy technicians needs substantial revision
  • That the APTUK first complete the advanced level framework as it would better align this NCF with the very highly advanced roles proposed within the NCF
  • That the competencies proposed in the NCF should be configured so that Foundation level pharmacy technicians could support and align with the work of clinical pharmacists and Advanced level pharmacy technicians could support and align with the work of senior clinical pharmacists
  • That the education, clinical knowledge, supervision and mentoring aspects of the NCF needed substantial (if not total) revision for these roles
  • That the training timelines suggested within the NCF is overly ambitious in light of the nature of the NCF

You can download the full PDA consultation response below

thumbnail of APTUK-NCF-Final-

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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