The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for all pharmacists to have access to the government’s new NHS mental health support plans.
The plans, based on recommendations from a Health Education England (HEE) report, aim to provide NHS employees with a dedicated mental health support service giving confidential advice 24 hours per day, as well as fast-tracked mental health appointment referrals.
However, Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, has said that the Board will “champion the right of all pharmacists, whether they are employed directly by the NHS or delivering NHS services, to be able to access this support.”
She added: “Pharmacists are the third largest health profession and stress in their places of work is increasing. All pharmacists should have equal access to mental health and wellbeing services alongside their professional colleagues.”
HEE said in its ‘NHS Staff and Learners’ Mental Wellbeing Commission’ report: “Stress has been identified as a primary health concern for pharmacists, with excessive workload perceived as key contributor.”
Gidley offered her support for the government’s plans, adding: “NHS employees are under pressure like never before and it’s right that they get mental health and wellbeing support.”
Other potential measures proposed in the government’s plan include an ‘NHS workforce wellbeing guardian’ in each NHS organisation who is responsible for championing mental health support for staff, post-incident support for NHS frontline staff and improved rest spaces for on-call staff and trainees during and after their shifts.