The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has urged those responsible for the NHS to put a stronger training infrastructure in place for the pharmacy workforce if its future strength is to be safeguarded.
Health Education England recently carried out a consultation on its strategies for professionals in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in England and, while the RPS praised the work carried out, it also criticised the document for being too focused on the short term and on small portions of the workforce.
Instead, it stressed the need for better training infrastructure, including a UK-wide pharmacy foundation programme, the Pharmaceutical Journal reports.
The organisation suggested a set of workplace development goals similar to those used by the World Health Organization would be a good place to start, with any new proposals needing to take into account enhanced roles for pharmacists and the challenges presented by the increased use of technology to deliver services.
A credentialing process to act as a workplace incentive for professionals in the industry was also supported by the RPS, as was the implementation of a UK-wide pharmacy foundation programme for uniformity and consistency in the training of those at foundation level.
The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK agreed that there needs to be a clear developmental pathway for pharmacy technicians in future so that they can be 'upskilled' as gatekeepers of medicines, the journal reported.
In autumn last year, a new training programme from the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education was launched in the south of England, with a view to rolling it out across the country at a later date.
It involves guided e-learning in rolling modules for technicians, with the goal of giving them better skills to perform accuracy checks on dispensed medicine.
This week's news comes at a time when many pharmacists are feeling increasing pressure on their time as a result of them needing to take on more patient-facing roles and dispense greater amounts of medication.