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Pharmacy: Training

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent progress has his Department made in the development of new qualifications for pharmacy support staff; and if he will make a statement; (240704)

(2) what his policy is on revision of the national occupational standards in pharmacy; and if he will make a statement.

The project to revise the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for pharmacy and, from these, develop new qualifications for pharmacy support is being taken forward by Skills for Health, the Sector Skills Council for health in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. The project is funded via the United Kingdom Commission for Employment and Skills.

The project has reviewed the original occupational standards in pharmacy and produced 26 contemporary NOS. In addition, six new NOS have been developed.

The new qualifications at level 2 and level 3 for pharmacy support staff will reflect the updated NOS and are intended to be consistent with both the new qualification framework in England, Wales and Northern Ireland—the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)—and the existing framework in Scotland. The new qualifications will be developed by autumn 2009.

The pharmacy White Paper ‘Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths—Delivering the Future’ (Cm 7341) states in paragraph 7.44 that the Government will consider what further training may be required to enable pharmacy technicians to supervise certain aspects of the sale or supply of medicine as envisaged by the Health Act 2006.