Understanding the in-service training requirements for pharmacist’s assistants
The work-based learning component of the various pharmacy support personnel training programmes, in the form of an in-service training programme, is an integral element in ensuring that learners acquire the requisite competencies to effectively render a support service to pharmacists across all sectors of pharmacy. It is, therefore, imperative that when this is undertaken, it is done so in accordance with legislative requirements as any deviation may impact negatively on the learning experiences of the learner as well as the learners’ ability to acquire the required competencies.
Regulations 25, 26 and 27 of the Regulations relating to pharmacy education and training require that pharmacist’s assistant (learner basic) and pharmacist’s assistant (learner post-basic) undertake twelve-months in-service training within registered pharmacy premises that are also approved for such training by the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC), under the guidance of a tutor approved by the SAPC.
It has come to the attention of the SAPC that some providers and employers do not adhere to some of the requirements of the Regulations relating to pharmacy education and training. The SAPC has received information that some learners registered in the categories pharmacist’s assistant (learner basic) and pharmacist’s assistant (learner post-basic) are required by their employers to work on a part-time basis in facilities not approved for training as part of their in-service training.
The SAPC reminds education providers and learners of the importance of adhering to the Regulations relating to pharmacy education and training. The regulations state the following in terms of in-service training requirements:
- The learning programme for a certificate of qualification may be determined by a provider: provided that a minimum period of twelve months of in-service training must occur.
- The in-service training referred to in regulation 25 must be undertaken—
- at a community pharmacy, institutional pharmacy, manufacturing pharmacy or wholesale pharmacy approved by council for purposes of such in-service training; and
- under the supervision of a tutor approved by Council.
- No person must commence in-service training unless—
- he or she is duly registered as a pharmacist’s assistant in the category pharmacist’s assistant (learner basic) or pharmacist’s assistant (learner post-basic), as the case may be, in terms of the Regulations relating to the registration of persons and the maintenance of registers;
- the pharmacy at which the in-service training will take place has been approved by Council for such in-service training; and
- the tutor has been approved by Council.
During this period of in-service training, learners are subjected to the basic conditions of employment. It is assumed that during the 12 months of in-service training, learners work 40 hours per week in terms in the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, 11 of 2002. Learners who are not employed on a full-time basis (who work less than the 40 hours per week) are also required to complete the minimum amount of hours equivalent to 12 months of in-service training.
Furthermore, it is important to note that in-service training commences on the day learners register with the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) and training may only be conducted in an approved community, institutional, manufacturing or wholesale pharmacy.
To help learners and tutors improve compliance with the regulations, the SAPC will amend the progress reports to indicate working hours per week. Tutors will be required to populate the online progress reports with the number of hours completed by learners during their in-service training. The amended online progress report will be available for use from 1 February 2019.