A new training programme for pharmacy technicians has been launched in the south of England, with a view to rolling it out across the country in the near future.
The scheme comes from the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) and consists of guided e-learning in rolling modules for technicians in Greater London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, aimed at giving them the skills necessary for performing accuracy checks on dispensed medicine.
It is hoped that the training will relieve the pressure on pharmacists as they take on more patient-facing roles and are required to balance an increasing workload each week.
The programme will be funded using a £325,000 grant from Health Education England and it could be ideal for anyone currently working as a technician who would like to move on and take a hospital or community pharmacy job in the future.
CPPE lead pharmacy technician Samantha Quaye said the final accuracy checks for medicines are an important step and a significant responsibility.
Tess Fenn, present of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK, added: "Expanding capacity through the delivery of good quality-assured and evaluated training is a positive way forward and serves to support the infrastructure changes that will enhance the role of pharmacists as clinicians."
New cohorts of students will be joining the training programme each month. It is not yet known when it will be extended further across the country.
The news comes after Chemist + Druggist magazine revealed last month that detailed proposals giving pharmacy technicians the responsibility for supervising the supply of prescription-only medicines have been submitted before a Department of Health programme board.
One Labour MP has already said she would be against such a move, but it follows an increasing number of suggestions to give technicians more responsibility and free up pharmacists from time-consuming yet essential tasks.