Defining the Role of the Pharmacy Technician and Identifying Their Future Role in Medicines Optimisation

Melanie Boughen, Jane Sutton, Tess Fenn, David Wright

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Background: Traditionally, pharmacy technicians have worked alongside pharmacists in community and hospital pharmacy. Changes within pharmacy provide opportunity for role expansion and with no apparent career pathway, there is a need to define the current pharmacy technician role and role in medicines optimisation. Aim: To capture the current roles of pharmacy technicians and identify how their future role will contribute to medicines optimisation. Methods: Following ethical approval and piloting, an online survey to ascertain pharmacy technicians’ views about their roles was undertaken. Recruitment took place in collaboration with the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK. Data were exported to SPSS, data screened and descriptive statistics produced. Free text responses were analysed and tasks collated into categories reflecting the type of work involved in each task. Results: Responses received were 393 (28%, n = 1380). Results were organised into five groups: i.e., hospital, community, primary care, General Practitioner (GP) practice and other (which included HM Prison Service). Thirty tasks were reported as commonly undertaken in three or more settings and 206 (84.7%, n = 243) pharmacy technicians reported they would like to expand their role. Conclusions: Tasks core to hospital and community pharmacy should be considered for inclusion to initial education standards to reflect current practice. Post qualification, pharmacy technicians indicate a significant desire to expand clinically and managerially allowing pharmacists more time in patient-facing/clinical roles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2017


  • pharmacy technician
  • medicines optimisation
  • pharmacist
  • hospital pharmacy
  • community pharmacy
  • patient-centred

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