We’re celebrating Pharmacy Technician Day today, Tuesday 19 October, and giving you the opportunity to find out a little more about who our technicians are and what they do.
If you’ve been to our hospital you may have visited our on-site Pharmacy, where our dispensary team prepare and dispense around 900 items a day to inpatients, outpatients and patients who are being discharged. Our pharmacy team work here and across our hospital to support patients and other healthcare staff.
A Pharmacy Technician works under the supervision of a pharmacist and is a registered professional who is accountable for their own accurate and safe practice. Pharmacy Technicians are registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) after completing an accredited GPhC course.
At the James Paget, the main role of Ward-based Pharmacy Technicians is medicines reconciliation which includes speaking to patients about the medication they were taking prior to hospital admission and using this drug history to reconcile this to the hospital medication being given. They will communicate and document any changes, omissions or discrepancies.
The medicines reconciliation will form the basis of ongoing treatment and ensure the patient’s own medication they bring in is suitable for use whilst in hospital.
Other duties include;
- Advising patients on any new or existing medications, letting them know about any potential side effects and any special instructions on how to take these.
- Dealing with any medication queries from the multi-disciplinary hospital staff
- Communicating with primary care providers, including GPs, regarding patient’s medication to ensure the continued supply of medications on discharge.
- Processing discharges, including ascertaining what medications are required and reusing patients own medication to reduce waste.
Pharmacy Technicians will manage the daily running of the dispensary and stores, manage staff and undertake audits, training and development. They also carry out the final accuracy check of medication which ensures that this is assembled and labelled accurately before being given to the patient.
Within our dispensary and stores our Pharmacy Technicians and Senior Pharmacy Assistants dispense, on average, 1,300 items a day. They will also see around 100 outpatients at the Pharmacy hatch and advise them on how to take their medications.
In production, Pharmacy Technicians work alongside Senior Pharmacy Assistants to support the Sandra Chapman Centre, our haematology and oncology day centre, making on average 40 infusions a day and dispensing and accuracy checking the support medication that goes with the chemotherapy regime.
Other specialist Pharmacy Technician roles include the monitoring, auditing and supporting of safe medication practice at ward level, such as the security and use of controlled drugs and the audit of practice, training and guideline/ policy development; the maintenance and support of software and hardware responsible for electronic prescribing and medicines administration, and drug storage.
Pharmacy Technicians also process prescriptions which are sent out to our homecare suppliers. The medications are then delivered directly to the patient’s home.
Interested in a career as a Pharmacy Technician?
If you are interested in a career in healthcare, this a rewarding job with lots of career options. If you have high attention to detail, excellent oral and written communication skills, are compassionate and good at listening, and you enjoy working both independently and as part of a team, then this may be for you. If you enjoy helping people, are interested in medications, how they work and want to make a difference to someone’s experience in hospital, then you might like to consider Pharmacy as a career.
Pre-registration pharmacy technician requirements are that you should have 4 GCSE’s or equivalent level 4/ grade C or above, including English, maths, science and one other.
You'll then need to complete a two year course accredited by the GPhC involving a mix of practical work experience and study. You’ll usually be employed by a pharmacy as a pre-registration trainee pharmacy technician and study for a level 3 apprenticeship.
To find out more please visit; Pharmacy technician | Health Careers
If you are interested in a career in pharmacy or would like to know more about the role of a pharmacy technician please email Kelly Hewitt, James Paget Clinical Lead Pharmacy Technician; kelly.hewitt@jpaget,nhs.uk