HSAA demands 'grand-fathering' of pharmacy techs

'Pharmacy technicians support regulation but not at their time and expense.' - Elisabeth Ballermann.

Elisabeth Ballermann, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE)Edmonton (20 April 2010) - Plans by the Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) to regulate pharmacy technicians (PTs) must include a clause to "grandfather" all current PTs, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE).

"The message we've received from our members is unequivocal," says HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann.

"Pharmacy technicians support regulation but not at their time and expense. Other professions (including lab technologists) have grandfathered in their existing members when they formed their regulatory bodies," Ballermann says.

"And those health care professionals were not required to take training they had already completed or to pass new exams. Pharmacy technicians believe they should receive the same consideration and that any new requirements be instituted on a ‘go-forward' basis."

Approximately 75 Edmonton-area PTs attended an information meeting on April 15. HSAA members shared their concerns about the issue with Ballermann and HSAA labour relations officer Trisha Thibodeau.

"No one is opposed to continuing education but we don't want to repeat what we have already done," one concerned HSAA member said. "Since graduation, we still have to do validation every year whether you have been to college or not."

A second HSAA information meeting for PTs will be held April 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Calgary's Executive Royal Inn, 2828 23 St. Ballermann is scheduled to meet after that with a committee of PTs on May 3 for further discussion. HSAA will then take the concerns of all members to the college.

"Some of us have been PTs for four years and others for 25 years," said a third upset HSAA member. "The curriculum hasn't changed since then so why should I and many others who now have families and full-time jobs be expected to go back to school at our expense and inconvenience. It appears to be nothing more than a money grab."

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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