Association of Pharmacy
Technicians UK (APTUK)
The Professional Leadership Body for Pharmacy Technicians

APTUK gives position on PDA report

Following the PDAs announcement that they have written an in-depth 300 page report that assesses the current role and capabilities of Pharmacy Technicians in the UK, a further notice indicates that in March 2018 PDA undertook a survey of pharmacy technicians.

PDA report that the survey asked whether, assuming all conditions (pay, training, career prospects and working conditions) remained the same, pharmacy technicians would accept criminal, civil and regulatory responsibility for supervising the sale and supply of POM, P or GSL medicines to patients, in the absence of a pharmacist on the premises. It also asked pharmacy technicians if they were happy to supervise the actions of other pharmacy staff in those circumstances.

The survey results are reported to be based on 143 responses (86% came from England, 10% from Scotland and 4% from Wales) of which 73% of respondents worked in the community sector in their main role, 12% in hospital, 9% in primary care, 1% in industry and 5% in an “other” area of practice. These results indicate that:

86% of pharmacy technicians said they 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

87% wouldn’t supervise other pharmacy staff in the absence of a pharmacist.

Respondents who would not be prepared to take on supervision roles in their current circumstances were then asked under what circumstances they would consider doing so. They were able to select more than one option. In relation to supervising the sale or supply of prescription only medicines:

30% indicated they would not be prepared to take this responsibility under any circumstances at all;

42% said they’d do it if there was a pharmacist physically on the premises who they could ask for help if needed (which would mean they weren’t doing it in the absence of a pharmacist); and

15% said they’d do it if they qualified as a pharmacist themselves (which again would mean that supervision was still being done by a pharmacist).

The PDA has suggested that they will soon be releasing the results of a 3-year project that looks at the role of pharmacy technicians and will encourage pharmacists to join the debate on this important part of the pharmacy team.

In response APTUK, as the professional leadership body for Pharmacy Technicians state, we are resolute in our position that we await the full publication of the whole PDA report before responding further.

When we have the full report we will be actively analysing the report’s methodology, the evidence, data collection, the results and evaluation to assess the reliability, validity and rigour employed in the research; particularly to be confident that strategies across the research design were applied to minimise ‘bias’.   

We predominately look forward to receiving more details relating to the survey conducted in March 18, as were not engaged or asked to participate in the survey, and were not informed this was or had taken place. The reported data does not align with recent discussions that we have had with our members and our annual conference delegates.

When we are in command of all of the report’s facts and figures, we will be engaging in discussion and will be strongly encouraging our members, Pharmacy Technicians and the whole pharmacy professional to do the same. Professionally responsible and sound conversation will ensure that everyone is aligned for the delivery of a safe and effective person-centred pharmacy service for the present and the future. It is essential that the whole profession understands the principles of rebalancing pharmacy legislation with pharmacy regulation to support and allow pharmacy to innovate and evolve by utilising the full capacity of professional skills, knowledge and behaviours of the pharmacy team for the benefit of patients and their health and wellbeing.


Pharmacists Defence Association: Pharmacy technicians don’t want to be responsible for supervising pharmacies


Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board:

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