These commentaries by John Macgill represent his opinions only and not those of any Ettrickburn client.

Pharmacy technicians may become prescribers

Profile: Dr Norman Lannigan OBE

Profile: Jonathan Burton MBE

Profile: Clare Morrison MBE

Deep Dive Pharmacy

Mind the Gap - Diagnostic Skills for Pharamacists

Supporting Excellence - Alison Strath Interview

2018 Pharmacy Forum Agenda Launched

Which Referendum to Choose

Three Perspectives on Pharmacy and Mental Health

Pharmacy and the New GP Contract

Bordering on Problematic

Recognised by the Queen and her community

VACANCY Reporter/Researcher: Health and Care Policy in Scotland

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Practice Pharmacist’s Perspective

What Matters to You? Communication in Pharmacy

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Patient’s Perspective

Focusing the Vision: Dr Rose Marie Parr on the new strategy for Scottish pharmacy

All the things that could go wrong - looking ahead to the SNP conference

Ask Once, Get Help Fast? Pharmacy and Mental Health

Automation and Delegation in Pharmacy: Understanding the Moving Parts

Pharmacy First in Forth Valley One Year On

Initiatives Highlight Potential of Community Pharmacy

Trying to concentrate on the day job

Health and the Local Elections – a strange silence

The Pharmacist Will See You Now – The Growth of GP Pharmacy

Montgomery’s Review – Dr Brian Montgomery answers questions on access to new medicines in Scotland

An afternoon with SMC

Pharmacists at SMC

SMC – are drug firms voting with their feet?

Radical Surgery on the Horizon for Scotland’s NHS

The Future’s Bright – in General Practice

Community Pharmacy in a Changing Environment

Disclosing payments to doctors – has Sir Malcolm done the pharma industry a favour?

Health and Care in the First Minister’s Programme for Government

CMO: Scotland’s pharmacists “absolutely ideally placed” to practice Realistic Medicine

Profile: Maree Todd – MSP and Pharmacist

Scottish Parliament Health Committee Work Programme

Scotland’s new NHS – a Summer of Speculation

Scotland’s New Health Committee

Two million voices in Scotland – is integration the big opportunity to listen?

Medicines – levelling the playing field

Key appointment raises the bar for health & social care partnerships

What did our new MSPs do before?

SMC says no then NICE says yes – three times

SNP promises single formulary and a review of Scotland’s NHS

More Generous than the CDF – but less transparent

Comparison of Funds: New Medicines v Cancer Drugs

Bonfire of the Boards? SNP signals NHS Review

A tribute to five retiring MSPs

New Medicines Review - Health Committee sends findings to Government

Medicines New & Old in the Scottish Cancer Strategy

Great Ambitions, Slow Progress – New Models of Care in Scotland

Scottish Minsters Demand Up-Front Medicine Price Negotiation

Opportunity and Disappointment: MSPs Investigate New Medicines Access

Scottish NHS Strategy calls for 'Realistic Medicine'

The Scottish Model of Value for Medicines: Taking Everything into Consideration

When SMC Says No: An Access to Medicines Lottery

Reviewing the Review: Access to New Medicines in Scotland

A day of psephology and kidology

Insulting the Lifesavers

Worthy of Mention – Health and Science in the Honours List

News Silence from North of the Border

A Christmas PPRS Present from Pharma

Thursday, August 30, 2018: Pharmacy technicians may become prescribers

This article was published by Pharmacy in Practice

https://pharmacyinpractice.scot/2018/08/30/new-horizons-for-pharmacy-technicians-guest-blog-by-margaret-vass/

Margaret Vass has been a pharmacy technician for 35 years and is leader of the NHS Fife Pharmacy Technician Team working across the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership from Lynebank Hospital in Dunfermline. She has been telling Pharmacy in Practice that the role and responsibility of technicians will continue to grow – so long as there are the people to do the job. 

“We work in all of the areas of Fife where there are medicines used outside acute hospital settings. So, that includes community hospitals, dental departments, physio, community nursing, district nursing, palliative care and GP practices. We work with the immunisation team and we manage all the medical gases. Some of the team are specialists and I think, overall, there is more scope for technicians to advance in a team like ours rather than in community pharmacy. We often get applicants for posts from community pharmacy technicians who want to come across and widen the scope of their knowledge, experience and practice.

The area where most advances are going to happen is in the GP practices, particularly now with the new Scottish GP contract moving a lot of the work that used to be done by the doctors to pharmacy. So, as pharmacists take on much higher level, patient facing and prescribing clinical roles, pharmacy technicians in GP practices will be doing a lot of the work that was traditionally done by pharmacists. Technicians will need to have a higher level of clinical competence, screening patient records and looking at their drug histories and undertaking patient counselling. 

In hospitals we are increasingly working directly with patients which was never a traditional role for a pharmacy technician. As we move towards more use of robotics, we're going to have to develop specialists who can manage robotic systems. And, as well as developing clinical skills, many of us will increasingly need to be equipped to be managers and leaders. 

I think we are at a crucial time because of the changes to the training and education for pharmacy technicians. There’s an opportunity just now to ensure that the basic education for pharmacy technicians is right and then that we put in place a framework for every technician to work within to ensure they get the additional qualifications and skills, right up to postgraduate level, that they will need to take on these advanced roles. 

Technicians may become prescribers in very specialist areas in the same way as physios. Before then, though, I think we will see pharmacy technicians using Patient Group Directions to supply and administer medicines. 

The challenge, as we seek to devolve more to pharmacists and then pharmacy technicians, is capacity. We can see that already with health boards looking for more pharmacists and more pharmacy technicians to meet the demands of the new GP contract. And we know right now that they are absolutely not out there. So, we are already starting to look Scotland-wide and asking how we make sure both that we have enough technicians undertaking their basic training and how we get more technicians into the NHS sector without depleting community pharmacy. 

We need to be innovative in how we train pharmacy technicians, including placements across the whole of pharmacy, with time in community pharmacy, hospital and GP practices, so that the pharmacy technicians come out of training able to work in any of those sectors once they are qualified. We have to plan for the future now, because we are really struggling to have the manpower to meet the demands right now, never mind any new expectations of us in the future.”

 Margaret Vass is leading a session on preparing the pharmacy technician workforce for Achieving Excellence in Pharmaceutical Care at the Pharmacy Management National Forum for Scotland in Dunblane on 30 August