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Pharmacy Technician

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Role description

Pharmacy technicians are responsible for preparing, supplying and administering medicines. They are key members of the pharmacy and multidisciplinary teams and play a vital role in helping patients get the best outcome from their medicines. The role involves liaising with patients, other healthcare professionals and customers to ensure the effective and safe use of medicines.

Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist and are registered healthcare professionals that are responsible and accountable for their own accurate and safe practice.

Key responsibilities

  • providing safe and effective pharmacy services
  • supplying medicines and medical devices to patients, whether on prescription or over the counter and providing information on symptoms and products
  • achieving the best outcomes through a patient’s medicines
  • assembling and accuracy checking medicines for prescriptions
  • providing information to patients, carers and other members of the healthcare team
  • managing areas of medicines supply such as dispensaries
  • supervising other pharmacy staff
  • responding to patients’ and customers’ questions both face to face and over the phone
  • pre-packing, assembling and labelling medicines
  • referring problems or queries to the pharmacist

Location of work

Pharmacy technicians work within a wide of employment locations including hospitals, where you could be involved in the aseptic preparation of medicines, taking medication histories from patients, reviewing medicines, providing advice to patients about how to make the most of their medicines and giving advice on different treatment options. Your role will support the relationships between the wards and clinical areas, patients and pharmacy services.

In community pharmacy, as well as managing the supply of medicines, you may offer advice to patients and carers on public health initiatives such as stopping smoking, and provide expertise on different treatment options for patients in a specialist area, such as mental health or general practice.

Many pharmacy technicians work in primary care roles in general practice and care homes. These roles involve reviewing and recording the medication the patients should be taking, ensuring sufficient supplies, administering medicines, and counselling patients to support their understanding on how to use their medicines safely.

Qualifications

The entry requirements will vary depending on the course provider. However, as a guide, you might be expected to have the equivalent of four GCSEs at Grade C and above, including mathematics, English language, science and one other subject. You will also need to be working in a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician

To practise as a pharmacy technician in England, you'll need to complete an accredited course and register with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

GPhC-approved courses/qualifications are also available through a level 3 pharmacy technician apprenticeship. To apply, you'll need to be employed and working in a pharmacy to meet the required minimum number of experience hours working within the pharmacy environment, under the direct supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.

Employers, including the NHS, offer jobs for trainee pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy technicians must be able to communicate effectively with the wider healthcare team, patients and the public, whilst ensuring and maintaining confidentiality and privacy.

In addition, as a pharmacy technician you need to be:

  • Responsible, accurate and methodical
  • Able to pay close attention to detail
  • Ready to refer to the pharmacist when necessary
  • Able to understand law and guidelines on medicines
  • Able to read and follow instructions
  • Interested in people’s health
  • Able to explain clearly to members of the public
  • Able to demonstrate excellent customer service skills
  • Able to demonstrate excellent organisational, science and manual dexterity skills

 In order to work in some specialist areas, you may be required to undertake additional post-registration training / qualifications.

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Further information

Training and development

To become a pharmacy technician involves the completion of a two-year training programme which combines practical work experience and study. Courses cover:

  • human physiology
  • disease management
  • actions and uses of medicines
  • pharmacy manufacturing
  • pharmacy law
  • medicines optimisation
  • checking of self and others
  • professionalism

You will be required to undertake annual continuing professional development (CPD) with formal revalidation from the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Career development

Pharmacy technicians are responsible for much of the technical aspects of dispensing services and manufacturing medicines in hospital and industry, Your career could lead to senior pharmacy technician role, management and leadership roles, responsible for the work of other pharmacy technicians and support staff.

You could also specialise in a particular area of clinical practice such as mental health, oncology (cancer treatment), paediatrics or to work within the military or health and justice care (prison service). Pharmacy technicians also specialise in areas such as medicines management, manufacturing, quality control, education and training, information technology, supplies procurement, clinical trials or medicine information services.

Once qualified, many pharmacy technicians join the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK(APTUK), the national professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians working in all pharmacy sectors across all four countries of the UK.

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