Futureproofing the pharmacy workforce to support professional leadership

Professional leadership has never been more important. There are significant changes impacting on the profession and we need to ensure that we are well equipped, with a voice to help shape the future, and enabled to develop through sharing and learning from best practice.

The RPS welcomed and supports the NHS LTWP which sets out an expansion in training, changes to ways of working, and improvements to culture that will increase the NHS permanent workforce over 15 years focused on:

  • Train: Growing the workforce
  • Retain: Retaining existing talent
  • Reform: Working and training differently

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began to peak in England, community pharmacies across the country saw increased demand for medicines and healthcare advice. This in itself has demonstrated how crucial pharmacy teams are in reducing health inequalities and accessing medicines.

The role of the pharmacist has changed significantly. Now more than ever, it’s important for pharmacists to learn how to be effective leaders. Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to engage other healthcare leaders in providing synergistic care because pharmacists find themselves at the intersection of many professional disciplines. With an expanding clinical scope, pharmacists now play a pivotal role in patient-centred care and interdisciplinary collaboration. Pharmacy technicians also play a crucial role in the healthcare landscape and work across multi-disciplinary teams to deliver enhanced clinical services.

So how do we effectively futureproof?

As the healthcare landscape embraces a more integrated approach, pharmacy leaders can drive collaborative efforts and help navigate the transformation to comprehensive healthcare delivery.

Improved workforce planning is fundamental to making this happen by ensuring that we have  diverse pharmacy teams with enhanced clinical skills to support patient care through:

  • Integrated and inclusive career development for whole pharmacy teams (pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy support staff)
  • Formal recognition of post-education registration and training
  • Investment in more collaborative cross-sector working
  • Investment in multi-professional service development
  • Embracing portfolio careers in becoming the “new normal”

These measures will support workforce flexibility, develop resilience, make our profession more attractive and support more sustainable retention opportunities.

The RPS is well positioned to support further futureproofing of the profession and has already made significant contributions through collaborative working with multiple organisations in workforce advancements e.g. independent prescribing, education and training. Now more than ever we need to use our collective voices to continue this journey at pace to champion workforce transformation and leadership in the future.

Nirusha Govender

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.313549

    Please leave a comment 

    You may also be interested in