Workloads within community pharmacies are pushing pharmacists to breaking point. Cuts to funding by NHS England have compounded this and pharmacists are caught in a perfect storm of rising workload and falling resources. At some point, something will give. This mustn’t be patient safety. We need action now!
Only through change to the way we work will we resolve these issues. Pharmacy can do more, but only with full and appropriate use of the skill-mix within our teams, including fully utilising pharmacy technicians. Change that facilitates the full use of pharmacists’ clinical skills is needed. This necessitates strength and depth within pharmacy teams. This must be carefully managed with strong leadership and bold new ideas. New ideas that reward excellence and upskilling, and recognise the necessity of freed-up pharmacists’ time. Equally, only by demonstrating increased worth and value to patients and the NHS will we will see increases in remuneration and reverse the savage decline in wages.
The solution lies in a change in the way community pharmacy is funded. We need a funding model which encourages the development of community pharmacy teams with workload taken off pharmacists and shared. Pharmacists will then have the freedom to better use their professional skills to take on extra roles — ultimately, independent prescribing within the community pharmacy setting should be our aim.
We need roles such as delivering medicines optimisation using full read/write access to patient records within community pharmacies. This will ease pressure on both primary and secondary care, repositioning community pharmacists at the heart of the NHS — fully integrated.
Funding is not the remit of the RPS. But our professional body needs to be mindful of the pain we feel and build finding solutions into its agenda. Pharmacist wages — whether employee, contractor or locum — are also outside the RPS’s remit, but the organisation does have a crucial role to play in supporting members with new proposals, lobbying government on our behalf, engaging with stakeholders to get the best opportunities for us, developing training, and above all else providing strong, vocal leadership and an inclusive narrative. Do these things and ultimately we will resolve workplace pressure and wage concerns.
This will be my agenda if you elect me to the English Pharmacy Board.
David Gallier-Harris, England
This is a campaign pledge for the 2018 National Pharmacy Board elections.
Voting opens on 30 April 2018 and closes on 18 May 2018.
For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/RPSNPB2018