Pharmacy leaders have warned the Government about a lack of engagement with stakeholders around the development of its long-term workforce plan in England.
A joint letter signed by representatives from 14 pharmacy organisations has called for reassurance that the workforce plan, expected by April 2023, will cover the entirety of the pharmacy workforce across the health service, including in community pharmacy.
The letter notes that the Health and Social Care Committee in July 2022 called for a pharmacy workforce plan to help optimise workloads across primary care, reduce pressure on general practice and hospitals, and support integrated care systems.
The letter highlights that with continued pressures on services, it is more important than ever to support the pharmacy workforce so that the staff needed to deliver patient care now and into the future can be recruited, trained and retained.
The letter was co-signed by:
- Dr Leyla Hannbeck, Chief Executive, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies
- Claire Steele, President, Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK
- Joseph Williams, Chair, British Oncology Pharmacy Association
- Priyanka Patel, President, British Pharmaceutical Students' Association
- Roz Gittins, President, College of Mental Health Pharmacy
- Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive, Company Chemists’ Association
- Nathan Burley, President, Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists
- Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive, National Pharmacy Association
- Janet Morrison OBE, Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee
- Mark Koziol, Chairman, Pharmacists’ Defence Association
- Prof Katie Maddock, Chair, Pharmacy Schools Council
- Dr Graham Stretch, President, Primary Care Pharmacy Association
- Thorrun Govind, English Pharmacy Board Chair, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
- Mohamed Rahman, Chair, UK Clinical Pharmacy Association
Thorrun Govind, English Pharmacy Board Chair, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said:
“It will be crucial to use the skills of all our health professions to support the NHS recovery, reduce health inequalities, manage the growing cost of long-term conditions, and deliver best value from medicines.
"Pharmacists are increasingly working across care settings and as such the whole of the pharmacy workforce must be included in the Government’s upcoming long-term workforce plan and supported by investment in education and training.
"Pharmacy teams across the health service are under enormous pressure and as well as support for frontline staff now, the workforce plan must also look to the future and how we can make the most of the next generation of pharmacist independent prescribers to enhance patient care."
Update: NHS England held a meeting with pharmacy stakeholders on the workforce plan on 24 January.
Read the letter.