The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) have recently announced their intention to work with people and organisations from inside and outside pharmacy to examine and understand workplace pressures across the pharmacy sector.
We welcome recognition from the GPhC that workplace pressure, and the relationship between employers and pharmacists, warrants attention from the regulator.
The RPS has been contacted by pharmacists who have raised significant concerns about professional autonomy, as well as issues around safe staffing levels, workload and rest breaks. All issues that have a direct impact on patient care. Many of these pharmacists have been in contact with the regulator too. We, like them, now expect the GPhC move quickly from words to action on this issue with concrete proposals about how professional, person centred care can be embedded in all sectors quickly.
We recognise community pharmacy owners in England are currently facing substantial cuts in income from the NHS. The RPS believes that any cut to community pharmacy, and primary care generally, is short sighted if the Government is committed to its stated aim of investing in primary care and prevention of ill health.
However unfortunate the timing, the additional scrutiny brought by The Guardian newspaper needs to be acknowledged and addressed, not ignored. We would encourage pharmacy trade bodies such as Pharmacy Voice and the negotiating organisations across Great Britain to work with employers to bring about a new covenant between the profession and those that employ them.
The GPhC have indicated their intention to work with stakeholders on the issue of professionalism. We would expect to have a key role in working with the GPhC to ensure there will be a focus on meaningful proposals. The profession and patients need the GPhC and employers to make the rhetoric of professional autonomy into reality for those that work at the coal face every day.