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After ‘pharmacist technicians’ error, PDA asks GPhC to stop using the term ‘pharmacy professionals’

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PDA says use of this inappropriate term creates confusion in the minds of the public and poses a risk to patient safety

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) recently issued a public apology after they mistakenly referred to pharmacy technicians as ‘pharmacist technicians’ in a council paper.

It has also written a letter of apology to the President of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK) for the error they made.

Meanwhile, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has raised concern about an equally worrying trend in which pharmacists are being referred to by the GPhC and others as ‘pharmacy professionals’, a term that is also used for pharmacy technicians.

The association said this creates confusion in the minds of the public about the two roles and responsibilities, which are very different, as well as have impact upon the workplace.

The Professional Standards Authority (PSA) has also made it clear on its website that there is a risk to patient safety and public protection when there is confusion about the role of someone from whom a patient is receiving advice or care.

Hence, the PDA has asked the GPhC and others to stop using “the unhelpful pooled term ‘pharmacy professionals’ and rely instead on the more accurate and unambiguous use of the correct terminology which is ‘pharmacists’ or ‘pharmacy technicians’, as appropriate.”

This will improve understanding of the knowledge, skills, and responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians respectively, it said.

The association is of the opinion that the regulator should extend the underpinning logic of its public apology, to support patient safety and proper skill mix.

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