Medicines are the most common treatments offered to NHS patients. Pharmacy technicians work as part of a pharmacy team under the direction of a registered pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians work as part of healthcare teams in hospitals, community pharmacies or within Primary Care.
The work includes:
To practise as a pharmacy technician you will be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), after completing an accredited qualification such as:
BTEC National Diploma in pharmaceutical science.
NVQ/SVQ level 3 in pharmacy services.
National Certificate in pharmaceutical science.
The entry requirements will vary depending on the course provider. However, as a guide, employers usually ask for at least 4 GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and science or equivalent qualifications.
Showing an understanding of pharmacy and how it benefits patients, and spending some time with a registered pharmacist, to gain an understanding of the role will benefit you application.
SKILLS AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
Pharmacy technicians need to be:
- Accurate and methodical.
- Have ability to pay attention to detail.
- Ready to refer to the pharmacist when necessary.
- To have understanding of laws and guidelines on medicines.
- Able to read and carry out instructions.
- Interested in people’s health.
- Willing to work with all types of people.
- Able to explain clearly to members of the public.
- Communication skills including listening.
- Good customer skills.
- Science skills.
- Good dexterity skills
- IT skills.
- Organisation skills.
- Training and development skills.
- Training to become a pharmacy technician usually takes two years. It combines practical work experience with study, either at college or by distance learning.
- Human physiology.
- Disease management.
- Actions and uses of medicine pharmacy manufacturing.
- Pharmacy Law.
In order to practise in Great Britain, pharmacy technicians must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and have satisfied the Council’s detailed requirements. Registered pharmacy technicians have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development (CPD).
Once qualified, many pharmacy technicians join the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK). The APTUK runs courses, conferences and seminars where pharmacists can exchange ideas and update their skills.
PAY AND CONDITIONS
Pharmacy technicians working in the NHS will work standard hours of around 37.5 a week which may include shifts. Newly qualified pharmacy technicians will usually start in the NHS at band 4 of the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scale or equivalent.
Terms and conditions can vary for pharmacists outside of the NHS, including those working in high street and retail pharmacies or for other employer providers of NHS services.
WHERE THE ROLE CAN LEAD
With experience candidates could specialise in a particular area of practice such as mental health, oncology, paediatrics, medicines management, manufacturing, quality control, education and training, information technology, supplies & procurement, clinical trials or medicine information services.