Ten Years of Pharmacy Technician Professional Registration
It was many years ago that I spoke at a national debate on behalf of a motion to allow registration of pharmacy technicians. It is, therefore, with great pleasure that I join other voices to celebrate ten years of registration for pharmacy technicians and the part that Buttercups has played to support their career development.
Vanessa Kingsbury, founder and CEO of Buttercups Training
July 2021 marks the ten-year anniversary of pharmacy technicians being on the GPhC professional register, and what a ten years it has been.
Since 1952, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) has been lobbying for pharmacy technicians to be professionally recognised. Appreciating almost 70 years ago that pharmacy technicians were integral to delivering patient services and needed to be recognised. It was a long road to travel, but in 2011 this vision was realised with the mandatory registration of pharmacy technicians, in Great Britain, coming into force.
Those of us old enough to join the register from the start, and in some case 6-years earlier via the voluntary register, have seen the profession go from strength to strength. The introduction of the Initial Education and Training (IET) standards in 2017 validates the role of pharmacy technicians in supporting patient care and pharmacy services. Buttercups was the first training provider to have a programme ready to train for the new standards and at the end of 2021 we will reach another milestone when we will have our first IET qualified pharmacy technicians join the professional register.
At Buttercups, we are proud to have worked for over 30 years training pharmacy technicians across all sectors. It has been exciting to be part of that journey to develop pharmacy technicians, providing them with greater status, influence and self-esteem and leading to public recognition for their professional excellence, competence and knowledge.
Since registration started, we have trained over 7,000 pre-registration technicians. We are committed to take the next step forward with them and will soon be launching two new programmes developed for qualified pharmacy technicians, to continue their professional development and support their career aspirations. The first is a short foundation programme for those who may have completed an older qualification and now want to increase their knowledge and skills for some of the newer services being delivered. The second is a more in-depth Level 4 programme to develop pharmacy technicians for more advanced roles, including public health, clinical specialists and technical services roles.
As pharmacy technician roles grow and develop, you can rest assured Buttercups Training will be there to support them on their journey. Here’s to the next 10 years!
Buttercups Training is fortunate to have a wealth of experienced pharmacy technicians as part of our team. Some of these pharmacy technicians share with us now their thoughts and experiences over their careers and what professional registration means to them.
I started out in pharmacy before technician registration came into being and moved from community pharmacy to a hospital pharmacy just before the date. I was advised that I needed to top up my existing course as it would not meet registration requirements and went on to do a BTEC. The hospital was supportive of me registering and I was able to further my career much more than I would have done otherwise. Being a registered technician has opened career pathways to me that wouldn't otherwise be available, and I feel proud that I am a registered healthcare professional. The new GPhC IET standards confirm the fact that pharmacy technicians should be seen as more than 'dispensers' and have professional responsibilities.
In my role as both assessor and tutor, I take training the new generation of pharmacy technicians very seriously. They are the future, and we need to give them the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to not only meet the requirements of the role, but also to thrive and in turn be the ones who support future technicians and promote their role professionally.
I first registered as a Pharmacy Technician in 2009. This was a real highlight in my career.
When I left school, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to university, in fact this was never even discussed as a possibility! I went straight into work and found a position in retail, which is where I stayed for 10 years. I then accidentally fell into a position in a local pharmacy. I worked my way through the MCA and DA course and then progressed onto the Level 3 course.
At the time registration was voluntary with the RPSGB and I opted to register as a pharmacy professional, I remember feeling such a huge sense of achievement. Regulation of the profession then moved to the GPhC and registration became a mandatory requirement to use the title pharmacy technician.
Registration provides protection for patients by ensuring only those qualified, competent and under a duty to maintain high standards can work as pharmacy technicians in Great Britain.
Reflecting on my career as a pharmacy technician I have over the years supported and helped many, many people, from patients, other healthcare professionals, colleagues, and pharmacy team members, including pre-registration pharmacy technicians on their own journey to registration. I have had many learners tell me more recently how they have been involved with ensuring patient care has been maintained during the pandemic, how they are actively involved with Covid testing and the vaccination roll out programme.
I hope that the contribution I have made in my own career has impacted positively on patient care within many communities. I am proud to be a registered pharmacy technician, who is helping to shape the future of the upcoming workforce, as the role of a pharmacy technician continues to evolve. It is not just sticking labels on boxes! (Grrr!) Pharmacy technicians in the community have a real impact on the lives of those in their own communities and I am really proud to be a part of that.
I feel registration has given other health care professionals and patients confidence in pharmacy technicians, hopefully it provides reassurance and trust. I think it also gives technicians a sense of responsibility, and so will therefore behave accordingly, and defines responsibilities. Registration makes me feel really proud of what I achieved in my previous career.
Registering back in 2011 was a big deal. I remember the added respect from the pharmacist when I registered and received my certificate that was displayed in the pharmacy. Being on the register as a technician has given me a more professional stance in the pharmacy world and opened more doors to development than those available when I registered.
I have been a pharmacy technician for nearly 30 years. The last 10 of my career as a registered professional. Initially I was nervous about the added responsibility of being ‘registered’ and wondered how this would improve my ability to do my job, however, after 10 years I am a proud professional and look on this as an opportunity to demonstrate my commitment to maintaining my professional competence.
Being part of the education and training environment allows me the opportunity to ensure that those that sit alongside me on the register continue to have this professional competence, ability and integrity that is required to serve the public in one of the oldest professions in the world.
I have been a pharmacy technician for a year longer than Lesley, as we trained together! For the last 16 years I have been on the pharmacy technician professional register. Firstly, on the voluntary register for six years and then since 2011 on the mandatory professional register.
I started my career journey at the age of 16 with weekly day-release to college and on the job training the rest of the week. Roll forward 22 years and my job role is professionally recognised and my job title protected in law. My career has taken many twists and turns along the way. Working predominantly in aseptic services in the NHS for the first 16 years and then in pharmacy education roles for the last 15 years. The roles for pharmacy technicians are unlimited and I am so proud of being in this profession and being valued for my work.
The next ten years will no doubt be a journey as well and who knows where we will end up. For me personally, I hope to be a doctor as I am currently completing a professional doctorate in clinical education. Not a bad journey for that 16-year-old kid, hey!