RPS Scotland calls for immediate action to address workforce wellbeing

RPS Scotland is calling for urgent action following publication of its annual workforce wellbeing survey in partnership with the charity Pharmacist Support. Nine out of ten (89%) respondents were at high risk of burnout, a figure unchanged from last year’s survey, showing ongoing high levels of workplace stress.  

Shockingly, 57% of respondents reported being frequently unable to take a rest break or were not offered a break at all during the working day.  

Seven out of ten (68%) reported their mental health and wellbeing had been negatively affected by their work or study. One in three (33%) had considered leaving their role and the same number had considered leaving the profession altogether, demonstrating high levels of disaffection. 

RPS Scotland has published a workforce statement which outlines the actions it believes are required urgently in order to address the pressing workforce challenges that the profession is facing across Scotland. The statement calls for immediate action to ensure that pharmacists have access to rest breaks and are able to take them. It also calls on governments, the NHS and employers to urgently address the workforce issues that are impacting pharmacists’ wellbeing. Actions that are required include effective workforce planning, improving skill mix and prioritising digital solutions. 

RPS Scotland is also calling for a cultural change in the workplace environment to ensure that people feel supported and are encouraged to access wellbeing advice and resources when they need it. 

RPS Director for Scotland, Clare Morrison, said: 

“Data from last year show a pharmacist vacancy rate of 11.6% in community pharmacy and 7.6% in NHS employed roles in hospitals and general practices. We need to train additional people to come into pharmacy but we need to be realistic that this will take time and unfortunately there isn’t a source of ready-trained pharmacists looking for jobs.  

“That means we need some immediate actions to relieve pressures now. There must be a focus on retaining the current pharmacy workforce by looking after them better, so they don’t leave the profession. And urgent action is required to improve the capacity of the current workforce through better use of skill mix, improved IT and more efficient systems.   

“We need pharmacy workplaces that are inclusive, have a culture of belonging and support wellbeing. Every pharmacist must be enabled to take a rest break during the working day: not having a break is as much a patient safety issue as it is a wellbeing issue.  

“We’re committed to working with pharmacy organisations, employers, regulators, governments and the NHS to prevent poor mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and to address the workforce challenges facing our profession. It’s vital that action is taken now to support our profession.”  

Visit the RPS wellbeing hub for more resources and support.


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