A review of the current global Pharmacy Support Workforce : how scarcity and need drive the development of a new competent workforce

  • Katie Doherty

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Background Pharmacy educational reform is a strategic goal of the International Pharmaceutical Federation to address the pharmacy component of the global health workforce crisis. The current shortage of pharmacists results in many medicines supply tasks now being undertaken by non-pharmacists. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of documentation on what training is identified and undertaken for these non-professional cadres at a country level. Additionally, there is a lack of clarity on how training is quality assured and accredited. Aims To obtain an overview of the pharmaceutical nomenclature, competencies, regulatory systems and education requirements for the global Pharmacy Support Workforce. Methods This project adopted an approach using a validated online survey tool, followed by comprehensive phone interviews to identify current practice. Global pharmacy, medicines supply chain and human resources online communities of practice were requested to invite broad participation from professional, academic and government pharmaceutical environments. Descriptive statistics were prepared from the responses and thematic analysis was used to determine the predominant themes. Results In excess of 170 respondents provided data. This represented fifty-one individual independent countries and seven World Health Organization regions. Pharmacy technician (n=26) assistant (n=14) and technologist (n=5) were the most commonly used nomenclature for the role, with a variety of expected competency patterns. Themes in work practices identified by the respondents included: less supervision available in rural areas, a variety of regulatory requirements, dissatisfaction with current education offerings and strong growth in the size of the workforce. Conclusion These results provide a window into the diverse scope of the global pharmacy support workforce. Significant variation of competencies, regulation and education are evident. This new information provides a baseline from which to begin to improve the training of the global Pharmacy Support Workforce that will allow greater competence, autonomy and accountability, leading to both better systems and patient outcomes.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorGabrielle Cooper (Supervisor), Andrew Brown (Supervisor) & Gordon Waddington (Supervisor)

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