In October, we responded to the announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care that the NHS Practitioner Health service would be expanding to support all doctors and dentists with their wellbeing.
Having recently launched our workforce wellbeing survey and campaign, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board Claire Anderson has now written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, calling for equal access for all pharmacists to mental health and wellbeing services.
Read our full letter below:
The recent expansion of the NHS Practitioner Health Programme for all NHS doctors and dentists to access mental health support was welcomed by many working in the health service. Some also viewed this as a missed opportunity to create a level playing field for staff facing workplace pressures. As we have raised with ministers previously, with pharmacy as the third-largest health profession, we would urge you to consider building on these plans to include pharmacists.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is calling for all pharmacists to have equal access to services to help support their mental health. The NHS Practitioner Health Programme does not include pharmacists either directly employed by the NHS or delivering NHS services, meaning those working in the community, care homes or GP practices are being missed.
In partnership with the charity Pharmacist Support, we have conducted a GB-wide survey for all pharmacists about their mental health and how they can be better supported. The survey has had an overwhelming response rate from our members, highlighting some of the challenges that pharmacists currently face in the workplace. We will be publishing our findings shortly.
Making the NHS a more inclusive and diverse place to work is a key priority across healthcare. The NHS Long-Term Plan and the NHS Interim People Plan have both highlighted the need to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff in the NHS, and the link between staffing pressures and burnout.
With the upcoming publication of the final NHS People Plan, and as we look to integrate pharmacists more across the NHS, it is vital that we support the health and wellbeing of all healthcare staff delivering NHS services, to ensure they are able to provide safe and effective care.
Prof Claire Anderson
Chair, English Pharmacy Board