Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England

Chief pharmaceutical officer for England Dr Keith Ridge has praised pharmacy technicians across all parts of the NHS for their selfless service during the current pandemic.

Coinciding with the World Pharmacy Technicians Day, Dr Ridge published an open letter on October 20 in which he thanked pharmacy technicians for “their incredible contribution to and support for excellent patient care throughout the Covid-19 pandemic so far.”

In the letter addressed to Liz Fidler, president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK), he wrote: “I have been impressed by the many examples of leadership, delivery and sheer fortitude that have been shown by pharmacy technician colleagues across all parts of the NHS and these are deserving of great praise.”

Dr Ridge highlighted that the profession has a “great future ahead”, nothing that the “NHS Long Term Plan identifies a strong and growing role for the pharmacy team across the
NHS which won’t be achievable without the appropriate clinical deployment of
pharmacy technicians.”

He emphasised that their role was critical to the functioning of the pharmacy team and pharmacy and medicines optimisation services in the NHS.

“The professional contribution of pharmacy technicians during the pandemic further confirms that this is the right approach,” he noted.

While thanking “the impressive leadership and contribution of the APTUK” he outlined several new initiatives the NHS has undertaken to consolidate the roles of pharmacy technicians, such as:

• The inclusion of the pharmacy technician role in the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme so that primary care networks are able to recruit pharmacy technicians into general practices meaning there will be hundreds more in post in the next four years.
• The inclusion of pharmacy technicians in the Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway.
• The expansion of training places and the piloting of the Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacy Technician role, in a system approach including primary care.
• The publication of the National Competency Framework for Primary Care Pharmacy Technicians.
• A national framework procurement process to facilitate access to apprenticeship funding to train pharmacy technicians in all settings.

He stressed the need for developing “a sustainable approach that will be beneficial to pharmacy technicians in terms of career progression and professional development.”

He however added that this would mean mean increasing recruitment, maximising the potential of the clinical role of pharmacy technicians in the NHS, increasing the numbers of those seeking professional registration and ensuring support for APTUK as the professional body.

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