LINCOLNSHIRE Co-operative's Pharmacy Division has responded to the call by Primary Care Trusts for community pharmacies to provide more services to reduce GPs' workload ? and won an East Midlands Training Award in the process.
The society's training programme for pharmacy technicians means they can take some pressure off pharmacists, and the programme has earned the division a place in the final of the National Training Awards 2004.
Pharmacists had to handle the majority of enquiries while supervising dispensary activities ? leaving them little time to expand their professional roles, explained Diane Gallon, training services pharmacist.
"The aim was to train staff to enable them to develop a more professional and rewarding job and also to enable the trainees to develop themselves," she said.
Staff undergo a course leading to an NVQ level three in pharmacy services. Those achieving the NVQ have shown they can deal with prescriptions, answer medicine-related questions and perform basic dispensing.
Three have extended their roles into smoking cessation clinics, and technicians in 15 branches are involved in drug addiction Pictured: Superintendent Pharmacist Alastair Farquhar accepts the East Midlands Training Award from the athlete Sally Gunnell.