Pharmacy support staff is a general term for anyone working within the field of pharmacy who is neither a pharmacy technician nor a pharmacist. They form part of the pharmacy team and work under the supervision of pharmacy technicians and principally, pharmacists.
These staff may be known as pharmacy assistants, pharmacy support workers, healthcare assistants or dispensing assistants. They will be referred to as pharmacy assistants for the rest of this page.
Pharmacy assistants are employed in the hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy or industry sector.
Pharmacy assistants work in a variety of areas in within these sectors. These could include:
Roles and responsibilities can vary enormously depending on what sector they are employed in and which department they are based.
Duties could include:
More information on pharmacy support staff roles can be found on the NHS Careers website.
The regulatory body for pharmacy, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), require all staff working as pharmacy assistants to be trained in and working towards units of the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills (QCF) which are relevant to their day to day activities.
Units of the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills (QCF) relate to a key part of the job role or a specific area of work.
Once you have completed your pharmacy assistant training, it is up to you what path you take next. Many people are content to remain working in their current workplace and continue to do their daily job as they did before.
For others, the glimpse into potential career development and new experiences may mean that they would like to take the next step and train as a pharmacy technician. The progression from the Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills (QCF) to the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills (QCF) is a natural path that many people take.