Skip to main content

Support Staff Course for Medicines Counter Assistants

The Support Staff Course for Medicines Counter Assistants (MCA) covers communication skills, the classification of medicines, the use of 2WHAM questions, handling prescriptions, abuse and misuse of medicines, referral to the pharmacist and product knowledge covering a wide range of symptoms and complaints encountered in pharmacies.

  • Develops confidence at the medicines counter
  • Provides in-depth product knowledge and advanced communication skills
Course Details
Online Course Cost
£59 (+VAT)
12 Months
Accredited by
The content of this course is accredited by the GPhC
Related Courses

Entry Criteria

This course is for those working on the medicines counter in a pharmacy. The learner will require a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to act as their workplace training supervisor during the course.

Important Information

We cannot accept applications from self-funded learners. The employer is required to support this programme.

Course Overview

This course meets the GPhC (2020) minimum requirements for the education and training of pharmacy support staff and the following National Occupational Standards:

  • PHARM01: Assist with the provision of a pharmacy service
  • PHARM04: Provide advice on non-prescribed medicines and products
  • PHARM07: Receive prescriptions
  • PHARM32: Assist in the issuing of prescribed items

How is the Course Delivered?

All our courses are delivered by blended learning, via the b-Hive learning system. The course comprises 13 modules, end-of-module quizzes to assess knowledge, Virtual PharmacyTM scenarios to assess competence, activity books and witness testimonies to be signed off by the workplace training supervisor and Final Tests administered under exam conditions.


As well as online access to results and our FAQ section, learners can talk to dedicated tutors year-round, including at evenings and weekends, via our out-of-hours helpline. In addition, learners are supported throughout their course by a workplace training supervisor who is nominated at enrolment to review and invigilate work-based activities and assessments, ensuring the learner is competent in the workplace.


To aid them in this role, the workplace training supervisor will complete a workplace training supervisor course on the b-Hive, to provide them with support and resources to guide and assess their learner(s). They will have access to the b-Hive Learner Analytics dashboard through which they can easily filter and view the progress and expected progress of their learner(s). The dashboard will display real-time data to provide a snapshot of whether a learner is on target or requires further support on a particular area of the course.

Course Features
Online learning on any device allowing learners to study at home, work or on the go
Interactive quizzes and content throughout the course
Print friendly - our online courses are optimised for printing, even allowing completion of interactive content using QR codes on a smartphone
Accessibility mode enabling those with additional needs to work through the course online
Online end of module tests with instant feedback
Final Tests in our online Test Zone
Real-time course tracking in b-Hive Analytics for the supervising pharmacist
Course Content

Provides an introduction to working in a pharmacy environment. This module covers the key responsibilities with regards to health and safety, SOPs, laws and regulations including information governance, and safeguarding the public including whistleblowing. Learners will be introduced to the requirements of learning and development, and its importance in delivering high quality care to patients.

Learners will understand the roles of the pharmacy team, including the wider multidisciplinary team, and the importance of teamwork, and be introduced to effective communication and customer service. Learners will be introduced to the concept of person-centred care and the communication skills required to deliver high quality care to patients.

This module focuses on medicines classification and protocols for questioning customers at the medicines counter, along with the misuse and abuse of over the counter medicines.

An extremely important part of the medicines counter assistant’s role is to facilitate the supply of prescription medicines in the correct way. This module provides all the details on how to do this and what a prescription is all about.

This module covers the different ways the NHS has chosen to utilise pharmacies for roles other than just the traditional dispensing of medicines.

This module is about pain, outlining the common minor ailments causing it, along with drug treatments available to treat it.

This module covers coughs and colds, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice you should be giving, as well as reasons to refer.

This module covers gastrointestinal problems, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice that should be given, as well as reasons to refer.

This module covers the medicines required by travellers, both to treat and prevent disease.

This module is about problems of the ears, eyes and mouth, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice that should be given, as well as reasons to refer.

This module is about problems associated with skin, hair and feet, their symptoms, treatments, the questions to ask and advice that should be given, as well as reasons to refer.

This module covers some minor ailments suffered by specific genders, how to treat them effectively and when to refer.

The medicines counter assistant has an important role to play in promoting wellbeing and healthy lifestyles to the public. This module covers some of the healthy messages and advice that should be given to patients.