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The voice of Pharmacy Technicians must be heard

Claire Steele shares some reflections on the results from the APTUK survey

In October, we carried out a survey of Pharmacy Technicans – we had hundreds of responses from members and non-members working in all pharmacy sectors across the UK. We asked about a whole range of issues relating to APTUK and what we offer as their professional leadership body. We’ll be analysing the results and changing what we do to reflect what our members and Pharmacy Technicians across the UK want from their professional leadership body.

Looking more closely at the survey results I was particularly interested in what Pharmacy Technicians think about their roles and status within the pharmacy sector.

We asked Pharmacy Technicians which professional issues are a concern for them. These were the top three issues they chose: the professional status of pharmacy technicians, career development, and accessing training and professional development.

These are all issues that APTUK has been focusing on for many, many years and was part of the reason we were founded seventy years ago. It’s clear from our members that they want us to continue to speak up on these issues and represent the concerns of pharmacy technicians. I believe it’s as important as ever faced with the pace of change across every pharmacy sector right now.

So many of our members clearly told us that too many people in the pharmacy sector lack an understanding of the Pharmacy Technician profession and the significant contributions we can make to delivering safe, effective, patient-centred and inclusive care.

“I think we are undervalued. We can do so much more than our colleagues seem to think,” said one member working in primary care. She summed up what many others think across the pharmacy sector.

Another member working in a community pharmacy told us: “Not enough people understand the profession, they do not understand how much pharmacy technicians can do. We don’t ‘just stick a label on a box’, there is so much more to being a pharmacy technician.”

This is why Pharmacy Technicians must have access to their own professional leadership body and be represented as an equal pharmacy professional. Pharmacy Technicians want their voice to be clearly heard. Only APTUK, led by Pharmacy Technicians for Pharmacy Technicians is in a position to do this.

A Pharmacy Technician in secondary care echoed many saying their biggest professional concern at the moment is “Being recognised as an autonomous profession and the skills we have to offer. We need to be included in the big conversations and our contributions valued rather than seen as bringing us to the table to tick a box.”

At APTUK, we are very clear that the tokenistic approach to Pharmacy Technician representation to date must stop and be replaced by inclusive, proportional representation.

We understand that Pharmacy Professional Leadership needs to evolve to meet the changing needs of healthcare provision across the UK. To achieve this the Pharmacy Technician profession must be enabled to lead on matters pertaining to their profession and be fairly included and listened to in all relevant decision-making forums, at all levels.

APTUK will continue to collaborate with other organisations in our work and support others to achieve their goals, but we would not be representing the strongly held views of Pharmacy Technicians if we do not do this as an equal partner.

Claire Steele

President APTUK 

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