Position Paper: Advocating for Expanded Scope of Practice
Earlier this year, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) released a chart identifying differences in the Pharmacy Technicians’ scope of practice across the country. The document focuses on compounding and dispensing activities as well as other tasks often restricted by provincial legislation. View the document here
Similar to other provinces, Alberta pharmacy technicians are authorized to receive verbal prescriptions and provide non-therapeutic medication information to patients. Unlike our pharmacist colleagues here in Alberta, who hold the broadest scope of practice nationally, there is room for the pharmacy technicians’ scope to expand in certain areas to align with other provinces. With this in mind, the PTSA advocacy committee drafted a position statement identifying necessary changes to the Pharmacy Technician Practice Framework.
Pharmacy technicians use a unique set of skills to positively impact the care provided to Albertans. In doing so, they collaborate with pharmacists and other members of the healthcare team to help patients achieve their health goals. Current regulations and policies provide a barrier to realizing the potential of pharmacy technician practice on the provision of quality pharmacy services. Revisions to the applicable components of the practice framework will create opportunities for realizing practice potential and ultimately contribute to improving overall health outcomes. Three changes to the provincial practice framework that will positively impact pharmacy practice are:
- Ensuring Alberta pharmacy professionals continue to have a broad scope of practice
- Authorizing qualified pharmacy professionals to supervise pharmacy operations
- Recognizing the evolution of pharmacy practice settings
In order to meet these goals pharmacy technicians must be authorized to administer drugs and vaccines by injection and become licensees of Compounding and Repackaging Pharmacies. Additionally, in order to reflect current and future practices the conditions within which a pharmacy technician is authorized to perform restricted activities and supervise non-regulated pharmacy employees must be clarified.
As healthcare evolves, the restrictions on pharmacy technicians to practice within a historical pharmacy dispensary present challenges to meeting ever-changing patient needs. In situations where dispensing and compounding activities are separated, or pharmacy services are provided remotely, the clinical pharmacist or courtesy pharmacist responsible for providing direction to a pharmacy technician may not be in the same pharmacy, nor directly involved in the evaluation of a prescription, counselling or assessing a patient’s health history. Pharmacy technicians may also not report to a clinical or courtesy pharmacist providing direction. As outlined in the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation, pharmacy technicians may supervise pharmacy employees when a pharmacist consents to the supervision. This requirement does not align with the application of direction so amendments to legislation and standards of practice are needed.
PTSA has shared this position statement with the Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) and requested that the changes noted within it be considered by ACP Council. We look forward to opportunities to continue discussing this topic with ACP and other stakeholders.
How will expanding the pharmacy technicians’ scope affect your practice? Share your comments below.