Pharmacy Technicians and Support Staff
Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support staff are key members of the pharmacy and wider multidisciplinary team. They liaise and work alongside other healthcare professionals across a wide range of settings to support the supply and safe and effective use of medicines.
If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, use the Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacy Technicians tab to find further information on becoming a trainee and discover how we support placements.
We also offers a range of development opportunities for qualified pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support staff. Use the additional tabs to discover further educational and training options.
Pre-registration Trainee Pharmacy Technician
Pre-Registration Trainee Pharmacy Technicians (PTPTs) are trained within the workplace and complete a 2-year vocational training programme. Training consists of a knowledge programme completed alongside two years consecutive work-based experience under the direction of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
Where training is delivered via an apprenticeship funding route, trainees must fulfil all the relevant requirements of the apprenticeship standard and pass the End Point Assessment (EPA).
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain. Upon successful completion of a GPhC approved course/qualification, individuals must register with the GPhC to practice as a pharmacy technician.
Further details on the registration process can be found on the GPhC Website.
The entry requirements will vary depending on the course provider. However, as a guide, you might be expected to have the equivalent of four GCSEs at Grade C and above, including mathematics, English language, science and one other subject. You will also need to be working in a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.
We do not employ PTPTs or offer trainee bursaries, however, we do provide a financial training contribution to the employer. It is the responsibility of NHS England Workforce, Training and Education (WT&E) to ensure the quality of work-based training for these trainees, to ensure providers and the curriculum are fit for purpose and a safe and supportive learning environment is provided.
Education costs are paid via the apprenticeship funding route and applicants for PTPT positions must meet the apprenticeship requirements.
Further information regarding apprenticeships can be found on the HASO website.
Most employers offering a PTPT apprenticeship advertise on NHS Jobs. Apprenticeship providers can also signpost you to employers that are recruiting apprentices.
Once you have accepted a position with one of our employers, your education lead within the department will provide you with a robust induction and they should be your first point of contact. As your learning will be split between college and the workplace, you will be provided with an educational plan that details your learning linked to your college and assessment work.
The two-year programme is demanding and may seem fast paced at times but is extremely rewarding. To ensure you are adequately supported, we have processes in place to support you. To progress from year 1 to year 2 of the programme, trainees must pass all year 1 assignments and work-based activities.
We have a key role in ensuring trainees are in safe learning environments. The NHS is busy and the role of a trainee that learns on the job is essential, however the balance needs to be right, and you should be supported through your education programme. NHS England WT&E will not stipulate how much time your trust should allocate to individual study, this should be discussed and agreed with your Designated Educational Supervisor (DES). Remember that you are continually learning and will have direct access to a whole range of healthcare staff that can support your development. Ask questions and get involved.
To improve and drive-up quality we have a variety of ways to gather feedback from our trainees including yearly surveys and ensuring the trainees voices are heard in local educational meetings. Speak to your Designated Educational Supervisor if you are interested in being involved in the trainee representative role.
Professional Leadership Body
The Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) is the professional leadership body for pharmacy technicians and works on behalf of pharmacy technicians securing and advocating the pharmacy technician profession and advancing the professions education and scope of practice.
APTUK offers free membership to PTPTs whilst they are completing their 2-year training programme visit their website for further information of what APTUK has to offer.
Medicines Optimisation Course for Pharmacy Support Staff
The Medicines Optimisation Course (MOC) aims to develop pharmacy support staff to work competently within local services and have a positive impact on patient care and safety. The intention of the course is not to standardise the detail of individual training as we recognise that delivery in individual work bases is diverse. It does not attempt to prescribe one single model for the delivery of medicines optimisation neither does it include clinical knowledge.
The MOC reflects the training needs of pharmacy support staff working at ward level in NHS trusts. Stakeholders were engaged to ensure educational content of the on-line learning is relevant for this workforce, who previously may not have worked in this area.
This course will provide the trainee with a greater understanding of medicines safety in the ward environment and clear expectations of a medicine optimisation role for pharmacy support staff. Completion of the course will demonstrate their competence at undertaking activities such as confirming an individual’s medicines for suitability of use and ordering medicines for individuals.
It has been designed and mapped against the following Skills for Health National Occupational Standards (NOS).
PHARM31.2016 Confirm the suitability of an individual’s medicines for use and ensure sufficient supply.
PHARM33.2016 Order medicines and products for individual patients
This funded course is open to pharmacy assistants working in an NHS trust within London that meet the following criteria.
Be a pharmacy assistant working in an NHS trust within London.
Have completed or be working towards the Level 2 Pharmacy Services Assistant apprenticeship or equivalent GPhC approved course for pharmacy support staff.
All mandatory training completed and up to date.
Candidate’s job description must reflect medicines optimisation role.
Candidate must have access to ward environment to complete course activities.
Application is via our on-line form accessed by the link at the top of this page.
The name of your Designated Educational Supervisor (DES) must be included within the application form.
Course Start Dates
Deadline to apply
04 March 2024
19 February 2024
01 May 2024
17 April 2024
01 July 2024
17 June 2024
Training is employer led within the workplace, supported by e-learning through our learning platform Moodle.
The maximum amount of time a candidate has to complete is 12 months from the course start date. There is no minimum time requirement.
in-house training and online learning
observations and assessment of practice
self-reflection and appraisal
Assessment of competence will be through work-based activities and include:
witnessed tasks/observations and competency logs
summative appraisal and sign-off by an Designated Educational Supervisor (DES)
Formative and summative competency assessment will be carried out in the workplace by the employer with an on-line knowledge assessment.
It is at the employer’s discretion when a member of staff meets local standards to deliver a service and meet their job description.
Workplace Educational Support
The role of the DES is to ensure that candidates have the appropriate training, utilising inhouse materials and are responsible for supporting the candidate throughout the course.
There is no formal training to be an DES for this course, the course handbook provides all the details to build on materials and infrastructure already in place.
An DES must have the following requirements:
The role must be included in their job description and they have the capacity to carry out the role effectively and in a timely manner
They must have the autonomy to deal with issues and concerns
They must have previous experience in confirming an individual’s medicines for suitability of use and ordering medicines for individuals and current knowledge and understanding of the role
MOP for Pharmacy Technicians
In 2017, medicines optimisation (MO) was included within the initial education and training (IET) for pharmacy technicians. As pharmacy technicians now undertake MO as part of their initial training the Medicines Optimisation Programme (MOP) for pharmacy technicians delivered by NHS England – Workforce, Training & Education (formerly Health Education England) is closed.
Pharmacy technicians enrolled on the MOP must complete the programme in time to sit the final OSCE being held in May 2024.
MOP OSCE (MR course only)
Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Assessment
The OSCE assessment includes four stations used as an objective assessment of competence in Medicines Reconciliation. We will organise these assessments and run them four times a year. Please note, if the minimum quorate is not met for an OSCE assessment it will be cancelled and candidates will be deferred to the following assessment.
To be eligible to sit the OSCE assessment candidates must have had their ‘sign-off meeting’ with their DS and uploaded all the associated documents on to the Moodle e-learning platform.
Candidates registered for the Medicine Reconciliation course must complete the OSCE assessment within 12 months of the course start date. Candidates will be permitted to attempt the OSCE assessment twice
OSCE Assessment Dates
Deadline to apply
28th February 2024
17th January 2024
21st May 2024
9th April 2024
Please note places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and applications will close once the OSCE is full.
OSCE Support Session
To support candidates with the summative OSCE it is a course requirement that candidates attend an OSCE support session. The purpose of the OSCE Support Session is to practice medicines reconciliation within a protected environment and to debate and discuss practical challenges and issues that can arise while working within medicines optimisation – Medicines Reconciliation. This session may be attended at any stage during the course.
The OCSE Support Session will be delivered locally, in the workplace by the Designated Educational Supervisor (DES) or a person deemed suitable by the DES. NHS England WT&E Pharmacy London provide the DES with standardised training materials and resources to facilitate the OSCE Support Session.
Medicines Optimisation Toolkit for Pharmacy Technicians
It is recognised that there is still a legacy pharmacy technician workforce that will not have completed this training. The Medicines Optimisation Toolkit has been developed to support the skills and knowledge delivered in the workplace of this legacy workforce no longer able to access the MOP.
It is not a mandatory requirement to complete all or any of the signposted activities and is at the employers’ discretion when a member of staff meets local standards to deliver a service and meet their job description.
Further Development Resources
Funded training is available to develop pharmacy staff enabling them to provide high quality, patient-focused medicines optimisation across all sectors, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.
Below is signposting to a few of the partners we have collaborated with to develop education and training. We have highlighted a few areas you have fed back to us where you or your workforce require development. This is not an exhaustive list of what is on offer.
elearning for Healthcare (elfh)
Provides free e-learning to educate and train anyone in the health and social care workforce. They have an extensive catalogue of programmes for you to choose from on their website:
The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) is funded by NHS England WT&E to provide developmental opportunities for pharmacy professionals providing NHS services in England. CPPE have introduced learning pathways to their website to support you in your journey as a pharmacy professional. You can access the pathways, learning resources and book on to workshops by visiting the website:
Consultation Skills (open to registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians)
CPPE have developed the national Consultation skills for pharmacy practice (CSfPP) programme, six-step learning development pathway, to support you to work towards the Consultation skills for pharmacy practice standards and deliver a patient-centred approach.
CPPE - Leading for change
Leading for change course is open to pharmacy professionals from all sectors of practice, including community pharmacy who has responsibility for leading a team or leading services within their organisation and would like to develop their skills further.
The NHS Leadership Academy
The NHS Leadership Academy offer a range of national programmes to help everyone in the NHS discover their full leadership potential and achieve the highest standards in health and care.
The NHS Leadership Academy – London Regional Centre
Visit the NHS London Leadership Academy website for information about leadership development opportunities and support offered pan-London.
The Chief Pharmaceutical Officers (CPhO’s) pharmacy leaders (open to experienced pharmacists and pharmacy technicians)
Delivered by CPPE, this programme was developed in conjunction with senior leaders from across the pharmacy profession as a self-directed programme, delivered using experiential and action learning.
Learning Disability and Autism
Oliver McGowan Learning Disability and Autism
The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training on Learning Disability and Autism is the government’s preferred and recommended training for health and social care staff. More information about the different ways to access the training can be found on the elfh webpage.
Primary Care Pharmacy Education Pathway
(open to registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians)
The CPPE Primary care pharmacy education pathway aligns the education requirements of the pharmacy workforce with the NHS Long Term Plan and the primary care Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service.
Information on resources and accessible training for development of supervisors within London can be found on the ‘Supervision’ tab within the Workforce and Quality section of our website.
Information on projects that have supported the development of the pharmacy workforce and the ambitions of the NHS Long term plan can be found on the Workforce Transformation section of our website.
Dental Factsheets for Healthcare Practitioners
Dental symptoms are one of the most common symptom groups for callers to NHS 111, particularly at weekends. Many patients visiting emergency departments could be managed by other services including community pharmacies.
The HEE Dental and Pharmacy teams across London and the Southeast collaborated to produce a series of dental factsheets for community pharmacy. The factsheets are intended to support and refresh knowledge and be used as a learning aid by all patient-facing staff in pharmacy when dealing with common dental presentations, helping community pharmacy teams to manage urgent dental and oral symptoms and to signpost patients to other services where indicated. You can view or download the factsheets individually or as a set
Cancer Factsheets for Healthcare Practitioners
Community pharmacies play an important role in reaching the NHS Long Term Plan target to increase the percentage of cancers diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 by 2028.
The first in the series of cancer factsheets aims to refresh the knowledge of common cancer diseases seen in a community setting. These factsheets can be used as a learning aid when dealing with common cancer presentations. You can view or download the factsheets individually or as a set.