Two Waikato DHB pharmacy technicians are among the first cohort to train for a new competency qualification (known as PACT) which authorises them to do the final accuracy checks of dispensed medicines.
Sourabh Bhalla and Vicki Codnig describe the training opportunity as both enjoyable and a real opportunity to step up their practice.
“It means we now have to take more responsibility. It will be our name signing it off, whereas previously it was the pharmacist who always has the last check and signs it off,” Vicki explains.
With responsibility comes even greater need for focus on accuracy. Sourabh says a checklist has really helped him, while Vicki observes she is a quieter person now – “I don’t talk so much,” she laughs.
Sourabh has almost completed the training, and Vicki has just three more months to go. The training takes eight months and is mainly done on-site but also involves submitted assignments.
Both of them have high praise for the support provided by their Pharmacy team. “They have made time for us and helped us out, even though our training sometimes takes us away from being full-time technicians,” Sourabh says.
The Pharmacy Accuracy Checking Technician (PACT) competency is developed by the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, based on similar competency requirements used in some overseas countries and piloted in New Zealand last year.
Those who gain the PACT competency are authorised to do the final accuracy check of a dispensed prescription, accuracy check of a repackaged medicine, accuracy check of a de-blistered medicine or accuracy check of each ingredient for a non-aseptically compounded medicine.
Not only does it up-skill pharmacy technicians, it also frees up fully qualified pharmacists to focus on more clinical and complex work.
Each competency is specific to a type of pharmacy – in Sourabh’s case it is for a hospital pharmacy and for Vicki it is for a community pharmacy.