APTUK Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
APTUK Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started to affect the UK in February and March 2020, it has been an extremely challenging time for everyone. The role that pharmacy has played in supporting patients and the public throughout the pandemic is widely recognised and acknowledged. The recognition extends to the whole pharmacy team, and it is safe to say that as part of that team the pharmacy technician profession has done itself proud.
The profile of the pharmacy technician profession has been increasing over recent years. The commitment, dedication and wide-ranging skills, knowledge and experience demonstrated by pharmacy technicians during the pandemic has raised the profile further and in ways we have not seen before.
As the Professional Leadership Body, for pharmacy technicians, APTUK represent our profession and ensure our voice is heard as and when needed. During the pandemic, this has been key to ensuring that the knowledge, skills and experience of pharmacy technicians is recognised and utilised where appropriate, allowing pharmacy technicians to work at the top of our licence, and often in new or extended roles, whilst practising safely, within legislation, governance, regulation and indemnity arrangements.
The board and professional committee are volunteers and were understandably required to focus their energies on the response to the pandemic in their substantive roles. The resource available was directed to focus on the needs of the profession relating to the pandemic and supporting and representing the profession during this time.
One of the key objectives was to ensure pharmacy technicians have parity with other healthcare professionals. Areas where APTUK have campaigned for this parity on behalf of the profession are:
- Death in Service
- Test and Trace
- Recognition as key workers
Throughout the pandemic, APTUK have led the development of key professional guidance for pharmacy technicians including:
- Return to practice
- Administration guidance
- IV Preparation guidance
APTUK have worked very closely with key partners to develop and publish professional guidance for pharmacy technicians. These included:
APTUK in collaboration with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS):
- Ethical decision making
- Supporting the development of a training resource for working in care homes during the pandemic
APTUK in collaboration with RPS and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I):
- Joint National Statement of the Principles of Inclusive Pharmacy Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in England
- Joint National Plan of Inclusive Pharmacy Practice in England
APTUK have continued to respond to other priorities as and when the need has arisen. Some of our recent key priorities have included:
- Commitment to reviewing our organisational policies and procedures to ensure they are appropriate for tackling racism and to strive to address any barriers and discrimination
- Development and launch of the Primary Care Pharmacy Technician National Competency Framework
- Updating members on key issues via mailjet
- Providing webinars for members, including:
- The pharmacy technician role and experiences in the Nightingale Hospitals
- Launch of the Primary Care Pharmacy Technician National Competency Framework
- Silence is not an option - a focus on inclusivity
- Wellbeing – a focus on keeping our selves well during the pandemic
- Pre-registration Pharmacy Technician support - with GPhC and key partners
- Providing national virtual branch meetings
- Standardising branches with a new Branch handbook and meetings for branch leads
- Expanding the APTUK Branch network through increased use of virtual platforms and engagement with new members
- Improvements made to the APTUK Website
- Publication and distribution of two editions of the Pharmacy Technician Journal
- Recruitment and induction of an operations lead for the Association
The board of directors have continued to meet regularly throughout the pandemic, to make decisions on how best to support the profession during this time. This commitment and dedication will continue, and with the help of the professional committee, APTUK will provide even more support for pharmacy technicians and the pharmacy profession to meet further challenges that the pandemic may bring. We will also ensure the developments to the pharmacy technician role during the pandemic are not lost and forgotten but are remembered and built on to provide even more excellent person-centred care for our patients.
The next priority for APTUK is to transition to a new organisational structure. The Operations Lead is now in post and will lead on this transition to enable the Board of Directors and Executive Committee to work in the most efficient way to maximise delivery of professional support for our members
APTUK recognise that July 2021 will be the 10 year anniversary of pharmacy technicians being registered as a profession by the General Pharmaceutical Council and are planning a virtual event to celebrate this important milestone. More information will be provided soon.