Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has announced a consultation to regulate pharmacy technicians as a new healthcare profession in the region.

The consultation on the introduction of statutory regulation of the pharmacy technician workforce in Northern Ireland is open for comments till 16 May, 2022.

Pharmacy technicians work with pharmacists and other pharmacy staff within health and social care to support the delivery of safe, effective and efficient pharmacy services for patients.

Swann said: “Pharmacy teams play an essential role in delivering health services to the people of Northern Ireland. We owe them a debt of gratitude as a key and significant part of the health care workforce and rely on their professionalism which has been particularly evident over the course of the pandemic.

“This document sets out a proposal for the introduction of regulation of pharmacy technicians in Northern Ireland that will align us with the rest of the UK and will help to ensure that the pharmacy workforce has the necessary capability and capacity to fully support the transformation of our health service in the coming years.”

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Cathy Harrison added: “For many members of the public, pharmacists and pharmacy staff are among the most accessible of all health care workers. Pharmacy teams are a critical part of the multi-disciplinary medicines optimisation workforce required to ensure that our people get the most from the medicines that they use every day.

“A central theme of the Pharmacy Workforce Review 2020 is developing the role of pharmacy technicians within the workforce, in tandem with progressing the regulation and registration of pharmacy technicians as registered professionals in their own right. This will help ensure the full capabilities of the pharmacy workforce are utilised and support a better skill mix of the pharmacy workforce whilst maintaining patient safety and public confidence.”

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