NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) has appointed its first pharmacy technician to the chief pharmaceutical officers team.

Liz Fidler, the president for Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) will join the team in March 2022 in the newly created post of ‘senior professional advisor: pharmacy technician’.

Dr Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England said that the new role ‘[signalled] a new era for the profession, leading the step-change needed to build on and fully realise the benefits of the pharmacy technician clinical role for patients across the NHS system’.

Last week (3 December), the Government confirmed it was considering including technicians on the list of healthcare professionals able to administer Covid-19 vaccinations under a patient group direction (PGD).

Responding to a tweet calling for legislative change to allow technicians to provide Covid booster vaccines, MP Maria Caulfield, the pharmacy minister, confirmed the Government was currently ‘looking into this’.

Ms Fidler’s new role will involve providing leadership and professional advice in relation to the pharmacy technician profession in England, Mr Ridge explained.

‘She will work across national health organisations and programmes to provide advice and support for the development of a strong evidence base which will further enable policy and strategy which reflects the potential of the pharmacy technician profession in supporting the aspirations of the NHS Long Term Plan,’ he said.

Previously, Mr Ridge has expressed his ambition to maximise the clinical role of technicians.

In an open letter sent to the APTUK in October 2022, Mr Ridge said there was a ‘great future ahead’ for the profession as it is a ‘critical’ element ‘to the functioning of the pharmacy team and pharmacy and medicines optimisation services in the NHS’.

NHS England and APTUK must work together to ‘increase recruitment and maximise the potential of the clinical role of pharmacy technicians in the NHS,’ if pharmacy teams are to achieve the goals set out for them in the NHS Long Term Plan, he added.