New GPhC report sheds light on the perceptions of pharmacy technician education standards

A new report published today analyses the scope of the current initial education and training (IET) standards for pharmacy technicians and the extent to which the employers of pharmacy technicians and other stakeholders think the current IET standards are fit for purpose

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) commissioned the analysis which was undertaken by University College London and London Pharmacy Education and Training.

The analysis was based on a literature review and in depth-interviews with representatives from awarding bodies, community pharmacy employers, education providers, hospital pharmacy employers and other stakeholders.

Key findings of the report include:

  • All current IET standards were considered to be essential, but some parts of the current curricula were not considered to be current or contemporary and could be revised
  • The length of IET and the academic level were thought to be appropriate, although may need to be changed if the role evolves further
  • Funding of training has an impact on the standards of IET and there is a disparity in funding opportunities between hospital and community.

The report also makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • Further discussion of the role for pharmacy technicians and professional responsibilities within the pharmacy team are essential to help inform the development of new standards of initial education and training
  • There needs to be an increased focus on teaching patient care, safety and the code of conduct
  • Assessment methods need improvement, particularly around assessing a pharmacy technician pre-registration trainee’s ability to apply knowledge in practice.
  • The standards for initial education and training should include more robust criteria for the monitoring of progress and quality assurance.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:

“This report further improves our understanding of some of the key trends, issues and themes in pharmacy technician pre-registration training and will help us with our review of education and training standards for the pharmacy team.

“We believe pharmacy technicians have a crucial role to play now and in the future in providing high-quality care to patients. It is vital that the standards we set enable pharmacy technicians to get the quality of initial education and training that they need.”

The report complements a previous report by the University of Manchester about the training experience of pharmacy technicians and the GPhC’s first ever survey of pharmacy technician pre-registration training.