Medicines Management Technicians at NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG
One of the benefits of the role of a primary care pharmacy technician (PT) is the variety from day to day, especially over the last 18 months as they have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. If there’s one skill that PTs in primary care need – it is versatility!
With the sudden need to vaccinate our vulnerable population the medicines management team were asked to dust off their aseptic skills and support at the 5 vaccination centres across Tameside and Glossop. Luckily they have aseptic experience from hospital training and so were able to step up to the challenge.
You can find them in the back rooms at the vaccination sites, carefully drawing up the exact amount of vaccine needed into individual syringes for colleagues to administer.
It has been a challenge – some days drawing up their share of over 1000 syringes – but they’re proud to have been able to support the vaccination programme.
Here are some of our PTs.
Danny Jebb, Medicines Management Technician, NHS Tameside & Glossop CCG
“I work with the Tameside and Glossop medicines management team. We are a small team and work with GP practices to assist in delivering safe and cost-effective medication treatment for patients. Some of my day-to-day work involves helping out with GP queries on medications, checking that the most cost-effective medications are being used, and doing safety audits on medications to ensure safe prescribing. We also work with the quality improvement team who work in care homes across Tameside and Glossop, completing medication audits and offering advice on safe medication administration to care home staff, as well as delivering training for care home staff on all aspects of medication.
“Over the previous 2 years I have been working on setting up proxy access for care homes. This allows care homes to order their medication online. This work has led to a far safer and more efficient ordering system and in Tameside, we were one of the first areas in the country to set this up for our care homes. As a result of this, I have been asked to present the work we did on several national online webinars for PrescQIPP and other organisations, and have assisted many other areas across the country in setting this up.”
Elaine Gallagher, Medicines Management Technician at NHS Tameside & Glossop (CCG):
“I have been qualified as a pharmacy technician for 24 years. Part of my current role is to support GP surgeries with their medicines management. This includes supporting doctors and pharmacists to identify the most appropriate medicine that is safe, cost effective for the NHS and is proven to work. I also write and deliver training packages for surgery teams, especially for reception staff, to help them to safely manage repeat prescribing systems.
“I also support surgeries with any medicines queries that they may have. I used to work as part of a community respiratory team and so I have a special interest in respiratory medicines, especially to treat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). I’ll be supporting surgeries to look at reducing their inhaler related carbon footprint over the next 12 months.”
Hannah Todd, Medicines Management Technician at NHS Tameside & Glossop (CCG):
“I started my pharmacy career at Tameside ICFT (hospital) as a student, qualifying in 2002.
“Part of my current role is to support our care homes with their medicines management. This includes visiting the homes to carry out supportive audits where we look at all aspects of medicines within the home from storage to administration. I then assist homes with creating and implementing development plans to help them to make quality & safety improvements. I also support residents of care homes with medication reviews and deliver training, both virtual and face to face to our care home colleagues.
“Sometimes I advise colleagues regarding safeguarding concerns and answer any care home related queries from any source. To carry out this aspect of the role, I work closely with my colleagues in the local authority and also at the hospital.”
Katie Heywood, Medicines Management Technician, NHS Tameside & Glossop CCG:
“I started by pharmacy technician career as a student back in 1993 – a lot has changed since then!
“My role started as a student at Withington Hospital where I also studied at Wythenshawe College. I have experience in aseptics, working on the hospital wards, managing both inpatient and outpatient prescriptions and now in working in primary care.
“My current primary care role is very diverse and I wear a number of different hats – sometimes all in one day! One day I am supporting GP surgeries with their medicines management, the next I might be manning our medicines queries email and the next making up vaccines at one of our COVID vaccination sites – it definitely keeps me on my toes!
“I recently spent 3 weeks supporting my pharmacy colleagues up at Tameside ICFT (hospital) as a dispensing technician helping out with COVID-19 related increase in prescription volume and also covering any COVID related sickness/isolation absence. I worked weekends, and bank holidays over Easter and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The team at the hospital welcomed me in and I've made some friends for life.”
How to become a pharmacy technician
Pharmacy technicians have to study for 2 years. They learn how medicines work in the body, what their side-effects are and how to manage them. They also learn which medicines interact with others, how to calculate doses and even how to make some medicines such as chemotherapy injections and feeds for premature babies!
Lots of pharmacy technicians then go on to study further in a chosen field, perhaps management, perhaps aseptics or maybe go on to study for a foundation degree.
Technicians can work in community pharmacy, hospitals, NHS trusts, prisons, GP surgeries, colleges and universities and also for pharmaceutical companies.
To find out more and to find approved courses to enable you to qualify as a pharmacy technician visit: https://www.pharmacyregulation.org/
or the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK at https://www.aptuk.org/
or Health Education England at: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/medicines-optimisation/training-pharmacy-technicians