RPS England responds to Health Committee report on COVID-19

The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee has published a report into ‘Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond’, which covers issues including:

  • communication with patients
  • managing waiting times and the backlog of appointments
  • issues facing NHS and care staff relating to access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and routine testing of staff
  • issues facing NHS and care staff relating to workforce burnout
  • what lessons can be learnt from the pandemic in order to support the NHS in the future.

Commenting on the report, RPS England Chair Claire Anderson said:

“I welcome the committee’s recognition of the huge contribution of health and care staff during the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19.

“Pharmacists are working hard on the frontline of this pandemic and I agree with the committee that more substantive action is needed to support staff wellbeing. This must include all pharmacists delivering NHS services.

“The report underlines the importance PPE and COVID-19 testing. It's vital that pharmacies continue to be included in the Government's PPE portal. With the second spike and winter pressures, pharmacy teams must get the support they need, wherever they work.

“The committee rightly highlights on the impact of COVID-19 on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, including the need for risk assessments for staff. I welcome the committee’s focus on inclusion and diversity and the RPS will continue working across the profession to help deliver our I&D strategy.

“The report draws some initial conclusion on lessons learned from the pandemic, including the role of virtual consultations. But this must also include managing demand better across the health service. Making the most of pharmacists’ clinical skills will be key to delivering the NHS Long-Term Plan, including greater referrals into community pharmacy, supporting public health and prevention, and reducing medicines-related hospital admissions.”

Read our written evidence to the Committee.

Complete our survey on mental health and wellbeing to help us champion how the mental health and wellbeing of pharmacists can be better supported.