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Education and training

GPhC drops proposed changes to pharmacy support staff training

The pharmacy regulator has confirmed that it will continue to provide accreditation for pharmacy support staff “as a quality assurance measure”.

The General Pharmaceutical Society (GPhC) will continue the accreditation of training courses of pharmacy support staff, following responses to a consultation in which it proposed to drop this role.

The decision was made at the regulator’s council meeting, held on 5 December 2019.

Since its inception in 2010, the GPhC had required pharmacy support staff to be qualified to a “minimum standard equivalent to the relevant units of the Pharmacy Service Skills Scottish/National Vocational Qualification (S/NVQ) level 2 qualification, or be training towards this” — a policy it adopted from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain when it body split to form the GPhC and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

In 2017, the GPhC proposed to stop accrediting these courses, as part of a consultation on ‘Guidance to ensure a safe and effective pharmacy team’. Under the proposals, pharmacists would have “a professional obligation” to ensure that pharmacy support staff were competent in their roles. It also proposed to limit the type of training acceptable to “a complete level 2 NVQ”.

After reviewing responses to the consultation, the GPhC said in papers for the December 2019 council meeting that the principles underlying the requirements for pharmacy support staff education and training would remain unchanged.

In particular, it said that there was a need for nationwide consistency for pharmacy support staff education and that, having set the requirements for education and training, the GPhC would continue to accredit training courses “as a quality assurance measure”.

The GPhC added that stakeholders valued the regulator’s “externality and independence” when it came to setting training requirements, and believed that it was unlikely to be “influenced unduly by commercial considerations”.

It said that its education and training requirements had been revised to include greater focus on the role of pharmacy support staff in delivering a wider range of range of pharmacy services, beyond “just the sale and supply of medicines in a community context”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207440

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