Pharmacy Support Worker

Pharmacy Support Workers are also known as Pharmacy Assistants or Dispensing Assistants. They are a key part of the pharmacy team, carrying out essential tasks, such as ordering, preparing and dispensing medicines. They work in distribution departments, dispensaries and clinical departments on the wards within a hospital as well as within NHS contracted community pharmacy settings.

NHS Pharmacy Support Workers in Scotland work under the supervision of a Pharmacy Technician or a PharmacistTasks normally include:

  • ordering medicines for hospital wards, departments, and patients
  • carrying out routine pharmaceutical stock checks
  • assembling and labelling medicines

Pharmacy Support Workers also work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure the required medication is available to patients.

To work as a Pharmacy Support Worker, useful skills include:

  • strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • good numeracy and IT skills

As a Pharmacy Support Worker, you will need to be:

  • able to work accurately with excellent attention to detail
  • able to work as part of a team
  • able to follow and carry out instructions
  • enthusiastic and self-motivated
  • responsible
  • able to understand guidelines on medicines

To apply for a job as a Pharmacy Support Worker, you are likely to need a good standard of general education, including English and Maths at SQA National 4, or equivalent.

The qualifications asked for may also vary depending on the recruiting NHSScotland Health board. For example, some boards may ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it could be an advantage if you have knowledge or previous experience in hospital or community pharmacy. You are advised to contact each individual health board to find out its specific requirements.

Once you are employed as a Pharmacy Support Worker in NHSScotland, you’ll need to undertake the SQA SVQ Pharmacy Services - Level 2 (SCQF Level 5) qualification. In addition, within the hospital setting you must complete the Mandatory Induction Standards for Healthcare Support Workers.

You’ll be encouraged to develop your career and it may be possible to apply for a pre-registration Trainee Pharmacy Technician post. This could lead to a Pharmacy Technician role within a hospital or community pharmacy setting.

Find out more information from these regulatory and professional bodies:

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the regulatory body for Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians and pharmacy premises. It accredits education programmes and promotes standards for the safe and effective practice of pharmacy, to ensure public health and safety is protected. Find out more on the GPhC website.