Due to Covid-19 pandemic we had to cancel the 2021 annual meeting in Croatia and decided to hold our annual meeting virtually via Zoom. And we had a fabulous, lively, and informative EAPT online meeting with great results and lots of discussions. We shared our experiences on many topics related to the pandemic, the role of the PT in this situation and recognised our similarities.
We had a packed meeting program including elections for the EAPT board. The EAPT consists of 11 member countries, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden. Every annual meeting includes the sharing of very interesting national updates and news which is in addition to the written report submitted by each country in advance of the meeting. All countries reported more difficult working conditions due to the pandemic situation. Many community pharmacies installed protective shields over the counter and had restriction on the number of customers inside the pharmacy. Staff work from home when possible and the training of the new PT colleagues is mostly online nowadays.
In some countries the PT is playing an important role in the process of vaccinating the customers against Covid-19, either in the pharmacy or in special Covid vaccination centres. Also, the community pharmacies are conducting Covid-19 tests in many countries. In some countries the PT got a monetary reward for working during the pandemic in these difficult conditions.
Many of the country representatives spoke of workforce / PT and pharmacist shortages in community, hospital, and manufacturing. They also noted the pandemic affected supplies of disinfected and PPE. The pandemic has highlighted the reliance Europe has on imports of many drugs so, it is essential, that the European Government is entering into a dialog with manufacturers to increase manufacturing of medicines in Europe. This is critical to patient safety in every country.
The EAPT Board 2020- 2023 nominations were submitted in 2019/2020 ready for voting at the annual 2020 meeting. However, due to the global Covid 19 pandemic the 2020 meeting was postponed and the 2017-2020 EAPT Board continued in post to carry out the business of EAPT. One nomination was received for each post so therefore there was no requirement for a secret ballot. Each country was required (one vote per country) to approve each Board position. As each position, starting with President, was called out each member country registered their approval/non approval using the ZOOM meeting chat box.
President – Christina Durinck
Vice President – Cristiano Matos
Treasurer – Gunilla Anderson
Secretary – Laura Lyons
Media – Jutta Brielich
Member – Anita Sveum Nilsen
Our ongoing work plan will be an updating of the statutes, collaboration with other organisations, an overhaul of the surveys and creating some more surveys.
The President, Christina Durinck thanked the old Board for all the work they have done over the last few years.
She welcomed Anita Sveum Nilsen, Cristiano Matos and Laura Lyons as new Board members.
She thanked Bodil for all the work she has done as Vice-President.
There was a special thank you and farewell to Tess Fenn who has been a part of the EAPT for many years. She will be very much missed, and we hope to stay in contact in the future.
All member countries agreed to invite Tess to our meeting in Croatia 2022 to allow the EAPT to show their appreciation properly.
Overall the meeting was a great success but everyone missed the networking and talks beside the official program and hope that we will be able to meet face to face once again in 2022.
The planned annual 2020 meeting, being hosted by Croatia, was unfortunately postponed due the unprecedented global Covid 19 pandemic and travel restrictions. The EAPT Board took the decision to delay the annual meeting after careful consideration and the need to uphold the safety of its members. They are currently planning the 2021 annual meeting.
The 2019 meeting, in April, was held in the beautiful city of Stockholm, Sweden and was hosted by Farmaciforbundet, the Department of Pharmacy and Health; part of the Swedish Unionen. As usual, the meeting was lively, exhilarating and full of discussion, networking, exploring our differences, recognising our similarities and sharing our experiences on many topics related to pharmacy technicians, pharmacy practice and national policies. We were nine countries Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom, all giving and sharing national updates and participating in the work of EAPT.
After a Board of Directors meeting in the afternoon and a wonderful welcome evening on the 25th, the meeting’s programme for the 26th was packed, as ever, providing the member countries with updates on work planned from the last meeting and then onto discussing and agreeing future work and collaborations. A standing agenda item is for each country to give a brief verbal update on the key points from a written report they have sent in before the meeting. This year there was a strong theme coming from the member countries indicating that although Pharmacy Technicians are key members of the pharmacy team, their position, particularly in community pharmacy, is becoming increasingly challenged as pharmacy practice changes and pharmacists become fearful of their position and their pharmacy business. Many of the countries reported that there is a shortage of pharmacy technicians and there is a need to train more. Also, many countries are looking at the education of pharmacy technicians and their pharmacy technician associations are working to ensure this is fit for purpose for the increasing content of the job role. However, again, there are national challenges, as it appears keeping the status quo is desired by some governments. For example, in Germany, mostly all healthcare professional training is 3 years compared to 2.5 years for pharmacy technicians. The German association ‘Adexa’ has pushed for this difference to be addressed and the education content of their qualification to be adjusted to meet the needs of newly qualified pharmacy technicians. This, however, has disappointedly been rejected.
EAPTs ongoing work plan includes conducting a ‘technology survey’ comparing the extent and impact of technology on the pharmacy technician role; ‘hospital pharmacy technician scope of practice survey’ comparing the role across the EAPT member countries’; and a survey to scope where and how pharmacy technician in the EAPT member countries administer vaccinations.
Our 2018 annual meeting, held in Glasgow, Scotland on 31st August, took place this year to coincide with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) 78th congress. We were an eleven country delegation including Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK).
EAPT President, Christina Durinck, officially opened the meeting and welcomed the member countries representatives, some of whom were new to the EAPT meetings, to Scotland. It was delightful to welcome some new faces along with many of the regular country representatives.
As usual, the agenda for the meeting was busy and included the Board and Treasurer’s report. The Board had been particularly active during the last year and reported that there had been five board meetings. The Treasurer’s report reviewed the EAPT 2017/2018 finance balance spreadsheet, showing the annual income from the country membership fee and the outgoing expenses mostly for the website and expenses owed to Portugal for EAPTs organisational registration.
A major aspect of the 2018 meeting discussions were the plans for collaboration between EAPT & FIP. President Christina gave an update and informed that the FIP Director for Workforce Education and FIP’s lead for Pharmacy Technician and Support Staffed Education were attending the meeting.
At the meeting FIP showed a positive attitude for pharmacists’ closer working with the pharmacy cadres’ workforce and their inclusivity within the pharmacy team. FIP outlined their future plans for researching and supporting pharmacy cadres. EAPT were encouraged to share their thoughts for the future collaboration.
To give EAPT direction, the President, Christina, presented a draft 3 year strategy to the member country representatives. The strategy included the overall objectives, specific objectives, activities and responsibilities. There was unanimous agreement for the draft strategy and a call for the work to be expanded with a review of the language and for this to be put into a presentable format.
Following the EAPT meeting, the country representatives attend the FIP Pharmacy Technicians (PT) symposium alongside 90 other delegates. EAPT submitted and presented a poster outlining the purpose, function and activities of EAPT. The President and EAPT Secretary also chaired parts of the PT Steam B sessions and workshops.
Our 2017 annual meeting held the third EAPT Board elections for 2017-2020. Nominations, received prior to the meeting, gave more than one nominee for the Vice President, Treasurer and Members posts and thus secret ballots were conducted at the meeting. Posts with one nominee, Secretary and President were approved by the EAPT country members. Following the process stated in the internal rules, the new Board and President were duly elected. The new Board were tasked with a number of priorities to take forward. One priority was the opening of a dedicated EAPT bank account and the development of the EAPT financial strategy and setting of future membership fees. Another priority was for the development of an EAPT communication strategy as well as setting longer time goals.
There were two presentations given during the meeting; EU Falsified Medicines Directive and Digitalisation and Automation. Following the presentations it was agreed that a scoping survey on the use and impact of technology on pharmacy practise across Europe would be beneficial. A working group was tasked with taking this forwards. The FIP report on ‘Technicians and pharmacy support workforce cadres working with pharmacists: An introductory global descriptive study’, was discussed and EAPTs ongoing collaboration with FIP. All country members present agreed to hold the 2018 EAPT meeting in Glasgow, Scotland to coincide with the FIP congress and the Pharmacy Technician symposium.