The Health and Social Care Committee has published the Government’s response to its report on Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care. The response agrees with the Committee’s ambition to better utilise the pharmacy workforce to enhance patient care and notes that the Government is working to ensure that the future role of the pharmacy workforce is considered as part of the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan in England.
This follows RPS England giving evidence to the Committee’s inquiry last year, where we called for support for the pharmacy workforce, including investment in education and training, as well as protected time to enable learning, service development and research.
The Government’s subsequent response highlights the importance of supporting career development as well as pathways for pharmacists to demonstrate post-registration capabilities, including advanced and consultant-level practice. It notes that pharmacy has been added to the list of professions eligible for the clinical tariff, giving access to funded clinical placements during initial education and training. It also highlights funding for additional training, such as the NHS clinical examination skills training for community pharmacists.
The Government responded to the Committee’s recommendation that workforce planning must consider the role of the growing number of pharmacist independent prescribers, noting work to establish independent prescribing pathfinders in England and funding for independent prescribing training for the existing pharmacist workforce.
The Government’s response also notes that NHS England is developing guidance to support the introduction of shared workforce models between Primary Care Network and other pharmacist employers.
Thorrun Govind, English Pharmacy Board Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said:
"Pharmacy teams across the health service are under enormous pressure and if we want to recruit and retain the staff we need, it is vital they get the support they deserve.
“As well as investment for education and training, we know that pharmacy teams are looking for protected time to support their learning and development. They also need continued access to well-being services and with potential cuts to funding, it remains to be seen how national programmes will work alongside Integrated Care Systems to support their workforce.
“The Government’s response is welcome, but we must see this translate into action for the whole of pharmacy as part of the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan.”
Read the Government’s response.
Read the Health Committee’s report on workforce (July 2022).
Read more RPS news stories.