Pharmacy technicians & assistants

SHPA has recognised through its Future Summits, that to build capacity and to develop advanced practice roles in integrated care, there is a need to build capacity not just in the pharmacist workforce but also through developing and expanding the scope of practice of pharmacy technician and assistant roles. 

The Pharmacy Technician and Assistant Role Redesign within Australian Hospitals Project reviewed the current roles of hospital pharmacy technicians and assistants, and identified variations in scope of practice, and barriers to changes in scope. 

As well as establishing a baseline understanding of roles pharmacy technicians and assistants are performing across Australian hospitals and the variation between Australia and overseas, the project consulted with a range of stakeholders to identify what is required to enable changes to roles to occur.  

Project Data reports now available

Pharmacy technicians/assistants play critically important roles in medicines management in hospitals. The Redesign Project White Paper enables SHPA to understand changes in the dynamics of medicines supply in hospitals and how this will impact on pharmacy technician roles in the future.

The comprehensive project included a literature review; a review of supporting frameworks; and additional primary research including a national survey, three focus groups, six structured interviews with key stakeholders, and four case studies of innovative practice. The national survey received 154 responses representing 170 hospital pharmacies.

The White Paper provides 5 key recommendations to progress greater utilisation of pharmacy technicians/assistants:

  1. Update current SHPA Standards and workforce definitions available in the SHPA Standards of Practice for Clinical Pharmacy Services
  2. Develop an Australian pharmacy technician/assistant competency standards framework and explore SHPA’s role in credentialing individuals for defined competency areas from entry level to advanced level
  3. Explore SHPA’s role in improving accreditation and delivery of national qualifications
  4. Document current innovative and advanced practice in each jurisdiction and consider SHPA support required to broaden this level of practice Australia-wide
  5. Hospital pharmacy technician/assistant leadership development

The full White Paper is available here.
A shorter summary document is available here.

Additional resources on pharmacy technician/assistant workforce:

International study: Technicians and pharmacy support workforce cadres working with pharmacists; an introductory global descriptive study. This report was commissioned by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Board of Pharmaceutical Practice and provides a global picture of how pharmacy support workforce groups work with pharmacists in the delivery of pharmaceutical services. It examines the global variation in workforce practice in roles and competency; responsibilities; supervision; education and legislation/regulation. The FIP report is available here

United Kingdom: A workforce study with similar focus as the SHPA redesign project has been conducted by the School of Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia in collaboration with the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK). The final report from their research study (published 8 October 2016) on the role of Pharmacy Technicians in the UK is available here.

New Zealand: In 2014- 2015, the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, on behalf of Health Workforce NZ, undertook a successful project to investigate the viability of introducing pharmacy accuracy checking technicians (PACT) into the NZ pharmacy workforce. A pharmacy accuracy checking technician is one who has been trained and certified to carry out the final accuracy check on a dispensed item. More information is available here.

Want to know more?

Redesign project: Andrew Matthews, General Manager, Workforce Transformation. 
E: T: 0408 650 153

For more information about pharmacy technician training go to Pharmacy Technician Training and Courses.

Redesign Project Steering Committee
  • Supporting SHPA Councillor and Chair: Trudy Teasdale (Qld)
  • National Pharmacy Technician Network Chair (NPTN): Lorah Hickman (Vic.)
  • Pharmacy Technician member of SHPA: Jade Carter (WA)
  • SHPA Federal Councillor: Dr Lisa Pont (NSW)
  • SHPA General Manager, Workforce Transformation: Andrew Matthews (ACT)
  • SHPA Chief Executive Officer: Kristin Michaels (Vic.)

Project manager: Rachael Raleigh

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