The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has released the first of a series of chapters from a report on pharmacy technicians which it hopes will clarify their roles and capabilities.

The report, ‘Pharmacy Technicians Report 2018 – community pharmacy skill mix and the current UK landscape’, attempts to draw clear distinctions between technicians and pharmacists amid concern the government is keen on technicians overseeing the supply of medicines.

The health minister Steve Brine told the Pharmacy Business Awards last year that the rebalancing medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation programme board, which had been discussing the plans, had not settled on any firm proposals.

Nonetheless, the PDA was concerned enough to produce the 300-page report containing eight chapters, which took three years to produce, detailing how pharmacists and technicians can work together as two different professions with separate skill sets and training.

“This report was designed to promote an informed debate about the future roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and how the two might work together,” said Alima Batchelor, head of policy at the PDA.

“We encourage a healthy debate because there are a wide range of key topics, which need to be properly considered and addressed.

“Only in understanding that these are two completely different roles that require a distinctly different skill set, and level of training, can you see that pharmacy technicians have not received the necessary training to take on the roles and responsibilities of a qualified pharmacist.

“Using umbrella terms such as ‘pharmacy professional’ is unhelpful because they could mislead the public into thinking that the two roles are interchangeable. That creates a risk to patient safety.”