All pharmacists should be able to access NHS-funded mental health support, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.
In a statement released on World Mental Health Day, 10 October 2019, the Society highlighted that pharmacists who are not directly employed by the NHS — which includes community pharmacists and those working in care homes or GP practices — are not covered by existing NHS support services.
The statement marked the launch of the RPS’s campaign for mental health and wellbeing in the pharmacy workforce, aiming to achieve equal access to a pharmacist support service.
Commenting on the campaign, Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, said the Society had heard from several members that workplace pressures were affecting their mental health and wellbeing.
“As demands on the NHS rise, so do the pressures on individuals, their morale and their health. We want equal access for all to a support service that’s funded by the NHS.
“As the third largest health profession, pharmacists deserve no less.”
The RPS launched the campaign jointly with independent charity Pharmacist Support. As part of this, the two bodies have launched a survey of mental health and wellbeing among pharmacists.
Gidley said the survey will help the two bodies to “examine the extent of the problem”.
The survey results will be used to inform a report, which will be presented to the government by the end of 2019.
Danielle Hunt, chief executive of Pharmacist Support, said research by the charity conducted earlier in 2019 “revealed that 71% of respondents identified mental health as a key issue affecting the sector”.
“Support in this area is essential to ensuring an effective and resilient workforce. Working in partnership with the RPS on this issue will, we hope, bring about positive change for all in the profession,” she said.