The health and wellbeing of the pharmacy profession was brought into sharp focus this month when RPS Wales met with Members of the Senedd/Welsh Parliament.
In the first face-to-face engagement in nearly two years, Welsh Board Members and staff from the RPS Wales office were able to speak openly to politicians from all parties about the current pressures facing the profession, the impact of the pandemic and the actions needed to positively influence patient care.
The troubling results of the RPS Workforce Wellbeing Survey of 2021 were central to the conversations. Politicians heard that the survey had revealed that 89% of survey respondents were considered to be at risk of burnout and almost one third had said they were considering leaving the profession altogether.
The tireless dedication of the profession throughout the pandemic was also highlighted as was the commitment of pharmacy teams in taking on new responsibilities during this time.
The politicians heard about the importance of sustaining and developing the pharmacy workforce, especially during the phase of pandemic recovery. Three key solutions were highlighted to address workforce concerns:
- Training more pharmacy staff and upskilling existing staff to work at the top of their competence.
- Secure dedicated protected learning time for pharmacy teams within working hours and for the findings of the current HEIW pilot to be implemented nationally at pace.
- Ensure pharmacy teams are given access to, and enabled to take appropriate rest breaks, both for their own wellbeing and for patient safety.
Commenting on the parliamentary reception, Elen Jones, RPS Director for Wales said: “The health and wellbeing of the profession is one of our top priorities and as we enter a phase of pandemic recovery and change, it is important for us to meet with Members of the Senedd (MS) to call on their support for the pharmacy team across Wales.
The MSs we spoke to all shared our view that quality patient care and safety must be enhanced by supportive working environments and cultures that actively invest in the mental health and wellbeing and celebrate the diversity of the pharmacy profession. We are pleased that the MSs took on board our concerns and showed a genuine interest in further exploring the issues in the Senedd and within their own constituencies.
While there is no single solution to workplace pressures, we are committed to moving this important agenda forwards with all key stakeholders including politicians, government ministers, employers and regulators. As part of this work we will be meeting with the Minister for Health and Social Services in April to further explore the solutions needed to fully support pharmacy at this time”.
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