Friday, October 20, 2006

Technical help may be of little value: pharmacy board

This could be a first: a pharmacist organization publicly questioning the role and usefulness of pharmacy technicians. They actually even went further by suggesting that technicians result in pharmacists having to do more work.

From CBC News:
...Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board registrar Don Rowe said: "It may help and assist in taking care of some of the technical functions, but it's an added task then that the pharmacist will have in terms of supervision and oversight of those technicians."

I think the pharmacy board is missing the point. The effective use of technicians has been shown to help pharmacists focus on professional tasks. Rowe says that technicians may help with technical functions. No kidding...that's what they are there for.

All of this seems to be as a result of a labour dispute occurring in Newfoundland hospitals. There is more info in this CBC News report.

From what I've seen over the years, pharmacy technicians do a pretty good job and fill an important role in any type of pharmacy practice. I would hate to see relations between pharmacists and techs damaged because of this, especially since the pharmacists' dispute is with the government, not their co-workers.

By the way, why are Newfoundland hospital pharmacists preparing chemo anyway? I know that many hospitals rely on qualified pharmacy techs to do the manual tasks of making the product and the pharmacist checks their work. This is done without incident all over the continent and is not considered bad practice as long as policies and procedures are in place.

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