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Protected learning pilot should be GB wide, says RPS

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is calling for a new pilot on protected learning time led by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) to be extended across Great Britain.

The new 12 month pilot in Wales will explore the value of three different models of protected learning time in community pharmacy settings with consideration of mentor input and attendance at training.

RPS Director of Pharmacy and Member Experience Robbie Turner said: “Regular paid protected learning time should be standard practice for all pharmacists in all sectors, regardless of career stage.

“Professional development cannot be an optional extra that is fitted into personal time outside work. For years pharmacists have demonstrated enormous goodwill and used their own time to acquire new skills and knowledge which are essential to their role, or delivering a new service. This can cause an increase in stress and burnout as pharmacists feel they cannot ‘switch off’ after work.

“Many other healthcare professionals have long had protected learning time and pharmacists should have parity with them. Apart from professional advancement, protected learning time as a group can help with team-building and improving staff morale, which is essential to wellbeing, as well as improving services to patients.

“As pharmacists become more closely embedded in the multi-disciplinary team and take on more clinical roles, protected learning time will become even more crucial in providing safe services to patients.

“The pilot on protected learning time taking place through HEIW is an excellent initiative. We’re calling for it to be replicated on a bigger scale in England and Scotland so more data can be collected on the approaches that most benefit pharmacists and to help support protected learning time for pharmacists to become reality across Great Britain.”

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