Proposal for the use of patient group directions by pharmacy technicians

Consultation opened on 18 August 2023. Closing date 29 September 2023.


The Department of Health and Social Care is consulting jointly with the Department of Health Northern Ireland to seek your views on amending the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMRs) to enable pharmacy technicians to supply and administer medicines using patient group directions (PGDs). A PGD is a written instruction that permits listed healthcare professionals to supply or administer medicines to a group of patients. PGDs are not a form of prescribing. The joint consultation will run for 6 weeks, closing on the 29 September 2023.

Consultation description

The aim of this proposal is to make it easier for patients to get the medicines they need when they need them whilst also continuing to maintain public safety. This will be achieved by avoiding the requirement for patients to see additional health professionals just to receive medicines they need where it is safe and appropriate to do so, thereby facilitating the requirement that patients have timely access to medicines alongside improved patient care and experiences.

Pharmacy technicians in Northern Ireland are not yet a registered health profession so amendments to the HMRs cannot currently allow pharmacy technicians in Northern Ireland to use PGDs. However, once pharmacy technicians in Northern Ireland become a registered health profession, a further amendment to the HMRs may be made so they can use PGDs also.  The Department of Health is currently taking forward work to establish pharmacy technicians as a registered and regulated profession in NI.

The Department would encourage all relevant stakeholders in Northern Ireland to respond to the consultation, which can accessed via the website.

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