Pharmacy technicians in England are now legally permitted to perform blood pressure checks as part of the hypertension case-finding service and deliver the smoking cessation service (SCS), the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has announced.

Updates to the Drug Tariff and The Pharmaceutical Services (Advanced and Enhanced Services) (Amendment) (England) Directions 2023 were made on 28 March and published by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), confirming the granting of greater powers to pharmacy technicians.

However, the service specifications for both the blood pressure checks and SCS delivery are currently going through NHS England’s publication process. PSNC said it would alert contractors through its normal communication channels when these are published. The organisation also advised that its resources for both services are currently being updated.

‘PSNC has long been an advocate for better use of the skill mix in pharmacy teams so this, along with the recent VAT changes on services carried out by non-registered pharmacy staff, is a very welcome development that should help ease capacity in the longer term,’ Janet Morrison, chief executive of PSNC, told The Pharmacist.

The plan to amend service specifications to give wider delivery powers to pharmacy technicians was first announced as part of the deal for years four and five of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) agreed between PSNC, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England.

The development is part of ongoing efforts to expand the role of pharmacy technicians in providing clinical services and enhancing the overall capacity and capabilities of community pharmacies.

However, Ms Morrison warned that ‘bigger and more immediate financial and operational challenges’ remain unresolved.

‘Regrettably, we have had to tell the NHS that there is currently no capacity to deliver any more services without additional funding,’ she added. ‘There is still a long way to go in easing the capacity burden on exhausted pharmacy teams.’