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Telford College partnership with NHS is finalist in National Training Awards

A partnership between an Edinburgh college and three NHS health boards have proved “the right medicine” to deal with a shortage of pharmacy technicians.

Edinburgh’s Telford College, NHS Lothian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Highland have worked together to train 611 people in the last decade, earning them a place in the finals of the National Training Awards 2007.

Edinburgh’s Telford College is a key specialist training centre for pharmacy technicians in Scotland.

Associate principal Alex Craig explains how The Right Medicine report set out a strategy for improving pharmaceutical care: “The role of pharmacy technicians in the hospital sector has changed significantly during the last 10 years and continues to change in response to government strategy and service re-design.

“The Right Medicine set out a strategy for pharmaceutical care in Scotland to deliver improved pharmacy services to the public and patients using an appropriate skill mix. Innovative ways of working required provision of appropriate education and training.”

The college has partner agreements with NHS Lothian of Deaconess House, Edinburgh, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, based at Southern General Hospital, Govan Road, Glasgow and NHS Highland.

The partnership agreement aims to design, implement and evaluate training programmes in response to skills shortages, quality improvement and health sector reform. They seek to improve recruitment of suitably qualified, competent and confident pharmacy technicians, and to provide appropriate advanced qualifications.

Each agreement covers a joint appointment as a college lecturer for a pharmacy technician employed within Education and Training in the NHS area, providing developmental opportunity, and a joint approach to:

“¢ evaluating teaching and learning through agreed performance and quality indicators.

“¢ reviewing courses, course content and assessment, in line with developing government strategy and NHS policies.

“¢ reviewing learner performance and distance travelled by learners within the NHS.

Alex Craig says a strong and cohesive partnership superseded original aims and expectations to address national politically driven changes. “Partnership agreements and learning models have been cascaded and extended from the three core NHS partners and will continue to extend to many more NHS Trusts throughout Scotland via the three core partners.

“We believe that in working collaboratively through a staged approach, we have effected change on a national level, raised benefits to patients, promoted safe and effective medicine use, improved the quality of care, and optimised pharmaceutical care through support service development, and increased level of competence and confidence in pharmacy technician capability.”

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