In 2016, SHPA’s Pharmacy Technician and Assistant Role Redesign within Australian Hospitals Project (Phase I) reviewed the current roles of hospital pharmacy technicians and assistants, and identified variations in scope of practice, and barriers to changes in scope.
The Project was initiated as part of SHPA’s overall strategy for pharmacy workforce transformation; 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.
This is consistent with international strategies for transformation of the pharmaceutical workforce as outlined by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) in their Pharmaceutical Workforce Development Goals.
Phase I: Project summary
This 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:
- Update current SHPA Standards and workforce definitions available in the SHPA Standards of Practice for Clinical Pharmacy Services
- 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
- Explore SHPA’s role in improving accreditation and delivery of national qualifications
- Document current innovative and advanced practice in each jurisdiction and consider SHPA support required to broaden this level of practice Australia-wide
- Hospital pharmacy technician/assistant leadership development
Phase II: Project
SHPA has now committed to progressing Phase II of the Redesign Project. Funds have been provided by SHPA Board of Directors to deliver on Phase I Project Recommendations 1. and 2. Additional work will focus on Recommendations 3.- 5.
The Terms of Reference for Phase II are available here.
- 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)
- Pharmacist or pharmacy technician with a background in education and training: Dr Lisa Pont (NSW)
- Rachael Raleigh (Qld.)
- Dr Andreia Bruno (Vic.)
For more information about pharmacy technician training go to Pharmacy Technician Training and Courses.
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?
Dan Guidone, Head of Pharmacy Futures