Pharmacy technicians work in multi professional teams in community pharmacy, hospitals, prisons and GP surgeries. HEE supports people to train as pharmacy technicians using an apprenticeship programme. Qualified pharmacy technicians can upskill to provide oversight of dispensing services ‘acredited checking’, medicines optimisation and specialist roles such as in aspetic services.
HEE in the east of England works to support the development of a person-centred pharmacy technician workforce, ready to work across a range of healthcare settings.
Funded training is used for pharmacy technicians and pre-registration pharmacy technicians, to help them provide high quality, patient-focused medicines optimisation across all sectors, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.
The professional body for Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK) provide information on the role and real-life summaries of a variety of roles undertaken - What is a Pharmacy Technician?
Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacy Technicians (PTPTs) are trained within the workplace and complete a two-year vocational training programme. Training consists of a knowledge programme completed alongside two years consecutive work-based experience under the direction of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
Entry requirements: these will vary depending on the education provider but as a guide you might be expected to have the equivalent of four GCSEs grade C/level 4 or above in English language, Mathematics, Science and one other subject. You will also need to be working in a pharmacy environment under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
Funding: HEE EoE pharmacy does not employ PTPTs or offer trainee bursaries, however, we do provide a financial training contribution to the employer. It is the responsibility of HEE to ensure the quality of work-based training for these learners, to ensure providers and the curriculum are fit for purpose and a safe and supportive learning environment is provided.
Education costs are paid via the apprenticeship funding route and applicants for PTPT positions must meet the apprenticeship requirements.
Further information regarding apprenticeship can be found on the HASO website.
Training placements: Most employers offering a PTPT apprenticeship advertise on NHS Jobs. Apprenticeship providers can also signpost you to employers that are recruiting apprentices.
Quality: HEE have a key role in ensuring trainees are in safe learning environments. HEE will not stipulate how much time your trust should allocate to individual study, this should be agreed with your Educational Supervisor (ES). Remember that you are continually learning and will have direct access to a whole range of healthcare staff that can support your development. There is a trainee support guide to assist you and your ES.
Registration: The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain. Upon successful completion of a GPhC approved course/qualification, individuals must register with the GPhC to practice as a pharmacy technician.
Further details on the registration process can be found on the GPhC Website.
Professional leadership: The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) is the professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians and works on behalf of pharmacy technicians securing and advocating the pharmacy technician profession and advancing the profession’s education and scope of practice.
APTUK offers free membership to PTPTs whilst they are completing their two-year training programme. Visit their website for further information of what APTUK has to offer.
HEE have developed a Pharmacy Technician and Pharmacy Support Staff Workforce Development Strategy.
GPhC CPD and revalidation requirements are that pharmacy professionals demonstrate that they keep their knowledge and skills up to date in order to maintain and improve their practice.
The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) is funded by Health Education England (HEE) to provide CPD opportunities for pharmacy professionals providing NHS services in England. CPPE offer a range of learning opportunities to help your development at all stages of your career and in all sectors of practice.
CPPE have introduced learning pathways to their website to support you in your journey as a pharmacy professional. You can access the pathways, learning resources and book on to workshops by visiting the website: www.cppe.ac.uk. You can also develop leadership skills here.
In collaboration with HEE, CPPE have developed a six-step learning development pathway, to support you to work towards the Consultation skills for pharmacy practice standards and deliver a patient-centred approach.
These resources can be accessed via www.consultationskillsforpharmacy.com.
Other training opportunities can be found below:
Pharmacy technicians working in a community pharmacy setting can access training funded by the Pharmacy Integration Fund. Courses have been designed by HEE working with APTUK, NHS England and other key stakeholders.
- There are several providers for courses and programmes for pharmacy technicians, including, accuracy checking, medicines management and consultation skills.
- The National Pharmacy Association supports community pharmacy teams with a catalogue of training and development courses.
- The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has a number of resources which are available to non-members, with plenty of material freely available in the ultimate guides and hubs section.
- eLearning for Healthcare provides a wide variety of on-line e-learning for all healthcare staff.
- FutureLearn free online courses on a wide variety of topics from science and innovation to health, diseases and patient care.
There are a variety of specialist roles for pharmacy technicians including education and training, medicines information, procurement, manufacturing, medication safety, antimicrobial specialist and digital pharmacy, for example working in electronic pharmacy and medicines administration (EPMA) teams.
Some of the training for these roles can be found at:
Pharmacy technical services include:
Aseptic dispensing and preparation: overseeing and maintaining the facilities used to prepare sterile medicines, including chemotherapy, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and central intravenous additive services (CIVAS);
Production: developing methods for the safe production of new medicines;
Radiopharmacy: manufacturing and supplying radioactive substances used in nuclear medicine;
Quality assurance and control: conducting a range of chemical and microbiological tests on medicines to ensure they are safe to use.
Pharmacy technicians can work in technical services, there is also a relatively new qualification that provides qualification in this area for those not undertaking pharmacy technician training: Science Manufacturing Technician (SMT) Pilot | Health Education England (hee.nhs.uk)
There are education providers for pre- and in-process checking in technical services, as well as other courses developing staff to work in manufacturing.