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  • Dispenser Checkers

    So been pushing to do some Dispenser Checking qualifications amongst my relief team.
    I've been wondering what are the limitations of being a dispenser checker, that is to say, a Level 2 Dispenser with the Checking Accreditation.
    Are there limits to what one can check, and how does this affect a checker who may work over multiple sites?

    I'm curious to find out from someone who's actually one already or knows of one.

  • #2
    If you are looking for a cheap alternativ3 to a checking technician or pharmacist, go ahead, but as a pharmacist you are responsible for every mistake they make. As a tech, I wouldn’t accept them as a checker no matter how much experience they have, and after investigating the requirements for training, where a dispensing qualification is just optional and accuracy training can take three to twelve months then I’m even less likely to support them.

    Compare this with an NHS trained tech who spends two years training as a tech, then does a year working as a tech before completing the accuracy checking training. The tech is also registered as a professional andcarries their own responsibility for their own work.

    I feel checking dispensers are an anomaly in modern pharmacy and when the GPhC did their recent review of training they should have removed the option for dispensers to check as one of their first actions.

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    • #3
      I appreciate the honesty there, Sparky.

      There's definitely a few members I would be reluctant to use as checkers. On the flip side, I've got Techs who have proven to be liabilities as well so I guess it is swings and roundabouts.

      I imagine there are a certain items that would never be passed on along the lines of high risks like methotrexate but I was wondering if that a restriction of the qualification or policy.

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      • #4
        I don't think the npa offers the course to non registered professionals anymore.

        The difference is a tech who is a 'liability' risks their own registration, and should have their own indemnity insurance. A dispenser would not, and the risk is all yours. I understand that some dispensers know the job inside out, I did, which is why my pharmacist wanted me to become an act, and was willing to wait the four years it took for me to complete my training.

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        • #5
          In terms of restrictions that's also your choice, technically a pharmacist can delegate any job to any suitably qualified member of staff as long as they have an sop in place for it. Nobody can work outside of their competency, how would you gauge that?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Archer View Post
            I appreciate the honesty there, Sparky.

            There's definitely a few members I would be reluctant to use as checkers. On the flip side, I've got Techs who have proven to be liabilities as well so I guess it is swings and roundabouts.

            I imagine there are a certain items that would never be passed on along the lines of high risks like methotrexate but I was wondering if that a restriction of the qualification or policy.
            There are no national restrictions on what a checker can check. There might be house rules in particular multiples or hospitals that specify when a pharmacist MUST check, but in general they check anything.

            Heres an example of a training organisation that says that dispenser training is recommended, but in a later paragraph it modifies that to it just being common practice that the dispenser checker must have dispensing experience.

            https://www.scientiaskills.co.uk/acc...hats-involved/

            That suggests someone could walk in off the streets and within three months be a dispenser checker even though they have no specific dispensing training or experience.

            Accuracy checking is one of the most important tasks in a pharmacy. It’s essential that the patient gets what they are supposed to get. Is it really wise to allow someone who may have little or no pharmacy experience such a role?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sparkybw View Post
              Accuracy checking is one of the most important tasks in a pharmacy. It’s essential that the patient gets what they are supposed to get. Is it really wise to allow someone who may have little or no pharmacy experience such a role?
              It's a very interesting point - there's definitely nuances that one only learns from experience of working in a pharmacy.
              Personally, especially considering where the accountability would lie, no-one in their right mind would consider someone who's just walked in from the street to start accuracy checking, regardless of their level of experience. At least for me, it needs to be a evidenced as a proven ability. Is that possibly me being too restrictive on delegation of tasks?

              One could extend the thought to other areas of Pharmacy, like the recent discussion around Technician supervision.

              Makes for some interesting debate.

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              • #8
                I've trained a few dispenser-checkers and it really depends on the candidate and their level of experience in the pharmacy. Some dispensers have the level of understanding as a technician but never had the opportunity to complete the course.

                It's a funny one this course. It's a massive responsibilty whilst cutting out the underpinning knowledge to understand the consequences of your actions.

                I wouldn't want a newly qualified dispenser to do this course, I'd ideally want a technician or a dispenser with a few years of experience. I've heard many locums are not happy with this qualification and as a consequence do not let the checker check.

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