Invest in pharmacy workforce to boost patient safety

Responding to the launch of the NHS Interim People Plan today, Gail Fleming, Director of Education, said:

“The NHS Long-Term Plan is ambitious for pharmacy, but it will be a missed opportunity to improve patient outcomes if the Government fails to invest in the workforce of the future.

“The ‘People Plan’ rightly focuses on improving the leadership culture and making the NHS a more positive and inclusive place to work. The health and wellbeing of staff providing NHS services is key to good patient care and all pharmacists, wherever they work, should feel equally supported. 

“It’s vital that workforce pressures affecting pharmacists are addressed as part of the drive to make the NHS ‘the best place to work’. Systems must be in place to support pharmacists whatever sector they work in and improve their working conditions as part of the drive to create better work life balance and reduce stress levels.

“We strongly support Government aspirations around prevention and helping people get the most from their medicines. The important role of pharmacists within multiprofessional teams is recognised and we welcome the investment in postgraduate training to enhance their clinical skills.

“The new Primary Care Networks will need support from more than 5,000 pharmacists in the longer-term.  Meeting this demand will be challenging and require a strategic approach to leadership, education and training to maintain a safe, capable and adaptable workforce.

“Central to this must be a funded model of foundation training and professional development so that pharmacists can build on their initial education and enhance their skills throughout their careers.

“The Royal Pharmaceutical Society will work with the NHS and other key partners through the Pharmacy Education Governance Oversight Board to push forward post-registration training that supports pharmacists to provide care across a range of settings to patients with increasingly complex needs.”

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