PACT Programme FAQs

Here you will find the answers to our most common questions. They are grouped as follows:

If you can't find what you want to know on this page, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

General FAQs

What is the PACT role? How is it different?

A certified PACT has a different role to that of a pharmacy technician. In addition to their Level 5 qualification, a PACT has successfully completed the PACT Training Programme that enables them to competently undertake the final accuracy check on a dispensed item.

For this to take place, a registered practising pharmacist who holds an APC with no conditions must complete a full clinical check to ensure the item is clinically safe and appropriate for the patient. This clinical check must occur before any other step in the dispensing process happens.

Note: the PACT cannot have any involvement with any part of the dispensing process before the final check - the PACT role is to undertake the final accuracy check of items only.

What are the benefits of employing a PACT?

The evaluation report from the pilot project (conducted in 2014/15) stated that interviewees ‘felt the pharmacists will have more time with patients and patients will receive their medications faster’. In addition, ‘pharmacists mentioned that the PACT training and role has resulted in improved quality control for others in the pharmacy as everyone has become more aware of near misses.’

PACTs contribute real benefits in pharmacies that provide extended services where the pharmacists are involved, such as the Community Pharmacy Anticoagulation Monitoring Service, Medicine Use Review Service, Clozapine Service, Methadone Service, vaccinations or other services which take pharmacists away from the dispensary bench for extended periods of time.

What has to change if there is a PACT training or working in a  pharmacy?

Dispensary workflow changes may be required to align and be in accordance with the workflow outlined in the PACT Operational Framework.  If not in place already, the most significant change will probably be for the clinical check to be undertaken by a pharmacist BEFORE an item is dispensed.

Once this clinical check is complete and the prescription item is deemed clinically appropriate to dispense, then the prescription is dispensed as usual. Once dispensed, the PACT can undertake the final accuracy check of this item.  Ideally pharmacists will undertake the patient counseling when medication is handed out.

How does a PACT role work under current legislation?

All pharmacy related activities undertaken in a pharmacy are regulated by the Medicines Act 1981and every pharmacy must comply with the requirements of the Health and Disability Service Standards Pharmacy Services Standard NZS 8134.7:2010.3.
Medsafe issues a Licence to Operate Pharmacy with an additional condition to enable a certified PACT to independently conduct accuracy checks. A Schedule is provided with the Licence that lists the Standards (with any limitations) that may be completed by a PACT operating within that pharmacy.

The following activities have been enabled within the pharmacy licensing framework:

  • final accuracy check of a dispensed prescription
  • accuracy check of a repackaged medicine
  • accuracy check of a de-blistered medicine
  • accuracy check of each ingredient for a non-aseptically compounded medicine.

Regulation 42(1A) and Regulation 63(2) of the Medicines Regulations 1984 requires all pharmacy technicians to be under the direct personal supervision of a pharmacist. This means that a pharmacist holding a current APC with no conditions must be present and able to intervene in the dispensing process as required.

What are the special Pharmacy Licence requirements?

Until May 2022, Medicines Control enabled a PACT to perform the final accuracy check of a prescription through an exemption on an individual Pharmacy Licence to Operate and listing individual PACTs on the licence as a Responsible Person.

From 16 May 2022, this no longer applies - any pharmacy that holds a valid licence to operate may employ a PACT providing

  1. There are no conditions on the licence that restrict PACT activities on the premises, and
  2. All requirements of the PACT Framework are met

See the Medsafe website for more information about licensing of pharmacies for PACTs

As the PACT is no longer listed as a Responsible Person, they are now not required to be a NZ resident as previously.  A certified PACT can now also work across multiple sites, provided each pharmacy meets the criteria as set out in the PACT Operational Framework, Section 1.3.

For employers and managers

What are the requirements for a pharmacy employing a PACT?

Any pharmacy who employs a PACT must have  

  • a valid Licence to Operate Pharmacy   under   the   Medicines   Act 1981 that does not restrict PACT activities from being conducted on the premises.
  • comply with the conditions on the Licence to Operate Pharmacy
  • demonstrate compliance through the Medsafe Pharmacy Quality Audit programme. The date of the pharmacy’s most recent audit and evidence of a completed audit will be expected.
  • have sufficient staff, physical and information resources to support the training and ongoing role of a PACT.
  • have internal training programmes in place for staff and/or encourage participation in external training courses.
    • Note: A PACT Preceptor may concurrently supervise a PACT and a trainee pharmacy technician. A PACT Preceptor cannot supervise a PACT trainee and an Intern Pharmacist  [PSNZ Policy- Resource requirements (Sept 2021)]
  • have an appropriate traceable and auditable system that records the identity of the clinical checker and final checker of prescriptions, including repeat dispensing and electronic prescriptions.

In addition, training sites must

  • have an approved PACT Preceptor who supervises and assesses a maximum of one PACT trainee in the workplace
  • have a training agreement with both the PACT trainee and training provider.

Is your pharmacy a suitable training site?

A suitable pharmacy will be one that has sufficient staff, physical and information resources to support the training and ongoing role of a PACT.  The pharmacy must meet the requirements stated in the PACT Operational Framework (section 1.3).

The general pharmacy work environment must also align and be in accordance with Section 2 of the PACT Operational Framework.

Are there minimum staffing requirements?

PACTs may not final check any item that they have dispensed. It is therefore necessary to have sufficient and appropriate staff available in the dispensary to maximise the advantages of having a checking technician.

Minimum dispensary staff numbers are required - at least ONE registered pharmacist (to perform the clinical check) and in addition to the PACT, at least one other dispensary staff member (pharmacist, technician or intern for dispensing). These minimum requirements are in place to ensure the PACT practises safely, and within their Scope.

During PACT training, these minimum staff levels are required to ensure the PACT Trainee has adequate support throughout their training and particularly when completing their 1000 item checking log. During this time a pharmacist will be second checking the PACT trainee, which leaves fewer staff to undertake other activities in the dispensary e.g. take phone calls, counsel patients, check controlled drugs etc. Ultimately patient safety is paramount, so a minimum staff number is required to ensure quality of service and that patient safety is maintained.

What training do other staff have to do?

All pharmacies that employ a PACT must have at least one pharmacist employed at the pharmacy complete the approved course for employers of PACTs. (PACT New Employers course – available online via PSNZ My Learning platform)

This ensures that there is someone, in addition to the PACT, who understands and can advise the wider pharmacy team about the PACT role and the required workflow adjustments when a PACT is incorporated into the dispensing process.

Insurance Cover

Your PDA cover as a pharmacy owner or a manager includes cover for any PACT you employ, whether they are in training or certified. If you are insured with another insurance company, contact them to see if you are required to inform them if/when you employ a PACT.

For PACT Preceptors

What is the role of a PACT Preceptor?

Each PACT trainee must have a PACT Preceptor. The preceptor provides support, guidance and feedback to the PACT trainee throughout the training period and facilitates the local implementation of the Framework for Training PACTs including conducting formative appraisals in the workplace. It is recommended that the PACT Preceptor is given time within work to support the PACT trainee.

How many trainees can one PACT preceptor supervise?

Two - a PACT preceptor may also concurrently supervise a trainee technician.(Only a trainee technician, not another PACT trainee or an intern pharmacist)

For Technicians

What are the entry requirements for the PACT programme?

To be eligible to enter the PACT Training Programme, the PACT trainee must:

  • hold the NZ Level 5 Pharmacy Technician qualification
  • have a minimum of 2 years post-qualification work experience. This period may be waived for UK technicians who have recently obtained the NZ level 5 qualification
  • have a minimum of six months dispensing experience in their current dispensary within the 12 months prior to commencing their PACT training
  • have an allocated work-based PACT Preceptor who has/will attend the PACT Preceptor training workshop
  • have the recommendation and support to become a PACT from the PACT Preceptor
  • have documented evidence to demonstrate their ability to dispense accurately over the range of prescription types within their scope of practice by completing a 200-item dispensing log at their current workplace
  • demonstrate a good working knowledge of local SOPs to the PACT Preceptor

Do you have to be a New Zealand citizen?

No - any pharmacy technician, who is eligible to work in NZ AND who meets all other criteria, may apply to enter the PACT programme.

What is the role of a PACT Preceptor?

Each PACT trainee must have a PACT Preceptor. The preceptor provides support, guidance and feedback to the PACT trainee throughout the training period and facilitates the local implementation of the Framework for Training PACTs including conducting formative appraisals in the workplace.

It is recommended that the PACT Preceptor is given time within work to support the PACT trainee.

How do you apply?

You will need to discuss this with your pharmacy employer if you wish to apply for the PACT Training Programme.

Both you and your potential PACT Preceptor will be required to complete an application form. You will also need to submit a copy of your Pharmacy Technician Certificate or a letter from the institution you qualified in confirming completion of the Pharmacy Technician Course.

If accepted, you have a maximum of 12 months to complete the PACT training programme.

Note: Successful completion of the PACT Training Programme is not guaranteed.

Can you work as a PACT at different pharmacies?

Yes - PACTs may now work across multiple sites providing each pharmacy meets the criteria as described in the PACT Framework.

What happens if I change employers?

Dispensing systems, processes, and medicines dispensed vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, even in the same geographical area. To ensure a safe transition from another pharmacy, the PACT must complete the PACT Transfer course (available online via PSNZ My Learning platform) if they are moving pharmacies or starting work at a second site.

Before commencing the transfer process, the certified PACT must familiarise themselves with the local policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) at the new pharmacy. The PACT is then required to develop or review the specific SOP for the PACT role, before completing a checking log of a minimum of 200 items to reflect local practice, and to ensure the SOP is comprehensive and can be followed for every item the PACT checks. During this period, each item is to be second checked by a pharmacist.

To complete this task, the pharmacist must be familiar with error codes used in the PACT Programme. The PACT is to check the 200 items with no errors. If errors do occur, the PACT is required to complete an error log, document why the error(s) occurred and reflect on this with their Preceptor, and other dispensary staff if necessary.

A declaration confirming your PACT SOP has been developed is required.

The PACT CANNOT independently work in a PACT role until this process has been completed in its entirety (i.e. they have been approved as having completed the requirements for transfer).