The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has written to health secretary Matt Hancock asking him to include pharmacists in the NHS practitioner health programme, which offers mental health and wellbeing support to NHS staff.
On 21 October 2019, the Department for Health and Social Care announced that all NHS doctors and dentists in England would be able to access the 24-hour support service. Pharmacists were not included — something which Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, described as “a real missed opportunity to create a level playing field for pharmacists who need help in the face of overwhelming workplace pressure”.
In a letter sent on 6 November 2019, Claire Anderson, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, urged Hancock to “consider building on these plans to include pharmacists”.
Anderson told Hancock that a recent wellbeing survey, conducted jointly by the RPS and Pharmacist Support, had received “an overwhelming response rate from our members, highlighting some of the challenges that pharmacists currently face in the workplace”.
The results of this survey will be presented to the government by the end of 2019.
Anderson also pointed out that both the ‘NHS long-term plan’ and the ‘NHS interim people plan’ had “highlighted the need to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff in the NHS, and the link between staffing pressures and burnout”.