Pharmacy assistants and dispensing assistants work alongside pharmacy technicians and under the supervision of a registered pharmacist in both hospital and community settings. Staff falling into this category will have a range of roles and responsibilities and therefore have different job titles. In the community sector these will include dispenser, dispensing assistant and pharmacy assistant. Within the hospital sector, the title pharmacy assistant is more commonly used.
The range of duties is broad and varies depending on the post, but may include the following:
Some posts may require staff to work on a rota basis.
For entry, applicants will usually need to have a good standard of education and some GCSEs at grade C or above (or equivalent) can be an advantage. Some posts may require specific GCSE grades or (equivalent) - such as A to C in English, maths and a science subject.
Applicants would also usually need:
Pharmacy assistants will train on the job and work towards a level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills (QCF)
Some trusts may offer the chance to train through an apprenticeship for pharmacy assistants. For general information about apprenticeships, please click here
With experience and achievement in relevant qualifications, it is possible to progress to senior pharmacy assistant roles and onto trainee pharmacy technician positions.
Job vacancies appear in a range of sources. NHS employers advertise on the NHS Jobs website. You could also write directly to hospital personnel/human resource departments or chief pharmacists. For community pharmacy positions, contact the company directly.
For further information on a career as a pharmacy assistant, please contact:
General Pharmaceutical Council
25 Canada Square
Tel: 0203 713 8000
Website: http://www.pharmacyregulation.org and http://www.pharmacyregulation.org/education/support-staff
The National Pharmaceutical Association
38-42 St Peter's Street
Tel: 01727 832161