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APTUK Position Statement - July 2017

Published: 14th July 2017


APTUK's position on ‘Supervision’ remains the same as indicated in the statement issued in 2011 and revised in 2016. We believe that changes to supervision can be an enabler to empower safe and effective patient centred pharmacy services, wherever they are delivered. 

Since pharmacy technicians will be affected by such changes, APTUK, as the recognised professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians needs to have a clear and publicly stated position. APTUK believes that the role of the pharmacy technician registrant is pivotal to the future of pharmacy services provision as the demand grows with an increasing population and the pharmacist clinical role continues to evolve. 

There is already strong evidence that pharmacy technicians can take on a range of roles including final accuracy checking, medicines management and pharmacy management in a controlled way and without increasing risk. As such, APTUK supports changes to supervision and greater delegation of tasks to pharmacy technicians as a registered professional within the pharmacy team. However, we believe that personal and organisational risk management must be in place and rigorously applied. 

It is important to understand that every decision on delegation should be preceded by a risk assessment. The level of the risk assessment should be determined by the nature of the task; some will need to be formal and written, others may need on-the-spot professional judgement. A further principle of delegation is that pharmacy technicians must recognise the limits of their competence and refer to a pharmacist when necessary. This already happens in practice and should be reinforced by embedding this, as a behavioural principle, in all pharmacy technician pre-registration training. 

Ensuring that pharmacy technicians do have the required level of competence is a critical part of the risk management strategy. If there is variation in the standards then this becomes a local issue which will influence the level of delegation that can occur and this falls within the role of the Responsible Pharmacist and organisational governance. 

APTUK believes that within any proposed changes the presence of the Pharmacist remains, along with overall accountability for the clinical appropriateness of medicines for patients and this remains constant. 

The title ‘Pharmacy Technician’ is now protected in law and standards have been set for initial entry to the register as well as for professional conduct helping to ensure that registrants are competent and safe to practice. It also means that, as registered healthcare professionals in their own right, they must accept responsibility and accountability for their work.

We, whole heartedly, believe that all pharmacy stakeholders need to work together to develop a strong and safe model of supervision. APTUK, as the professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians, are and will continue to be, actively involved in the supervision debate and support any consultations. APTUK are working with key individuals and organisations on the development of supervision.

APTUK believes that community pharmacy is at the heart of the future visions for pharmacy and strongly supports the need for continued accessibility for patients. Community pharmacy, with the pharmacy team, is an integral part of the healthcare policies across all of the devolved countries. Utilising the skills and knowledge of pharmacy technicians will support innovation through quality systems to enhance the safe and effective supply and use of medicines and deliver patient-centred care.