Gail Fleming, the director of education at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), has warned the government that pharmacists’ working conditions must be improved and work-related pressures addressed if they are to play an integral part in the NHS long-term plan.
Responding to the release of the interim NHS people plan, which sets out health bosses’ vision for a better culture of leadership across the health service and a transformation in the way health professions work together as part of a multi-disciplinary approach, Fleming said pharmacists needed support to reduce their levels of stress and achieve a "better work life balance."
“The health and wellbeing of staff providing NHS services is key to good patient care and all pharmacists, wherever they work, should feel equally supported,” she said.
“It’s vital that workforce pressures affecting pharmacists are addressed as part of the drive to make the NHS the best place to work. Systems must be in place to support pharmacists whatever sector they work in and improve their working conditions as part of the drive to create better work life balance and reduce stress levels.”
The report said: "We need different people in different professions working in different ways. We also need to address the cultural changes that are necessary to build a workforce that befits a world-class 21st century healthcare system.
“We need to promote positive cultures, build a pipeline of compassionate and engaging leaders and make the NHS an agile, inclusive and modern employer if we are to attract and retain the people we need to deliver our plans.”
Fleming also said the RPS would “push forward post-registration training that supports pharmacists to provide care across a range of settings to patients with increasingly complex needs.”
“We strongly support government aspirations around prevention and helping people get the most from their medicines,” she added.
“The important role of pharmacists within multi-professional teams is recognised and we welcome the investment in postgraduate training to enhance their clinical skills.
“The new primary care networks will need support from more than 5,000 pharmacists in the longer-term. Meeting this demand will be challenging and require a strategic approach to leadership, education and training to maintain a safe, capable and adaptable workforce.
“Central to this must be a funded model of foundation training and professional development so that pharmacists can build on their initial education and enhance their skills throughout their careers.”
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