The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee has published a new report on ‘Clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic’, which includes calls for a national health and care recovery plan, a ‘long covid plan’, and an evaluation of NHS 111 call first services.
The Committee also focuses on workforce, reiterating the need for better workforce planning and calling for a ‘refreshed People Plan’ to support staff wellbeing.
RPS England Chair Thorrun Govind said:
“Pharmacists and pharmacy teams across the health service have shown enormous dedication to patient care throughout the pandemic. This latest committee report highlights once again the urgent need for robust workforce planning and support.
“With winter pressures and a spike in COVID-related staff absences, this also means prioritising essential work, cutting unnecessary bureaucracy, and ensuring pharmacists can take adequate rest breaks.
“The pandemic has shown just how important it is that the Government and NHS support collaboration across health professions to maintain patient access to care.
“If we are to clear the immediate backlog of care from the pandemic and support the NHS recovery in the longer-term, then we must see investment in pharmacy as part of a comprehensive workforce strategy."
The report comes as the Committee is set to hold two further inquiries on The Future of General Practice and Workforce.
Our written submission on The Future of General Practice highlights key issues including:
- The need to consider patient access to care more widely.
- The increasing role of pharmacists in general practice and Primary Care Networks.
- Supporting collaboration across health professions and care settings.
- Maximising referrals into the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service.
- Exploring a ‘Pharmacy First’ approach to minor ailments in England.
- Utilising and growing the numbers of Pharmacist Independent Prescribers.
- Enabling pharmacists to make minor changes to prescriptions.
- Investment in pharmacy education and training.