After extensive lobbying by RPS for equal access for all pharmacists to NHS funded mental health and wellbeing services, NHS England and Improvement have confirmed that a new mental health support line will be available to pharmacy teams across all healthcare settings from today, as part of a package of measures to support staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chair of the RPS in England Professor Claire Anderson said:
“This is much welcomed and overdue news for pharmacy teams. Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our frontline staff is needed more than ever before.
“Pharmacy teams are working flat out on the frontline to help patients during the pandemic and will now be able to get high quality mental health and wellbeing support.
“Through our workforce wellbeing campaign we’ve heard that pharmacists need much more help with their physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. As a result, we’ve been talking extensively to governments across the country and the NHS on how to better support pharmacy teams. Their wellbeing is more crucial than ever to the continued delivery of essential services in the fight against Covid19. We know that prevention is better than cure so we will continue to fight to make sure the pressures on pharmacy teams are reduced.
“Pharmacists and their teams have risen to the challenge of Covid19 and deserve the best support. In the longer term, they also need solutions to the problems that have caused such extensive mental health distress. A staggering 84% of pharmacists we surveyed last year told us they were at high risk of burnout, and that was long before coronavirus hit.
“We look forward to working with the Government, NHS and key stakeholders to resolve some of those issues too.”
Danielle Hunt, Chief Executive at Pharmacist Support, commented:
“As the charity championing the wellbeing of our pharmacy family we are delighted to hear the news today that all pharmacists and their teams will have access to this much needed support.
“Now more than ever, we feel we all need to work together to support those on the front line through this challenging time. This is why here at Pharmacist Support – the profession’s independent charity – we are working in partnership with others to increase awareness of the issues impacting pharmacist’s wellbeing and the positive impact prioritising wellbeing can have. Our focus during this particularly challenging time is on providing proactive support for the profession that will be available to pharmacists, trainees and pharmacy students over the coming weeks. These NHS resources compliment the suite of tailored support the charity can provide.”
About the new mental health support line
The phone line will be open between 7am and 11pm every day, while the text service will be 24/7.
Telephone: 0300 131 7000
For the 24/7 text helpline, text FRONTLINE to 85258
For further information, visit people.nhs.uk.
About Pharmacist Support
Pharmacist Support is the profession’s independent charity, providing a range of free and confidential services to pharmacists and their families, former pharmacists, pre-registration trainees and pharmacy students.
For further information visit www.pharmacistsupport.org, call 0808 168 2233 or email [email protected].