Better opportunities for professional and career development — including protected learning time — would help with the recruitment and retention of pharmacy staff, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Scotland has said in written evidence to the Scottish Labour Party’s NHS and Social Care Workforce Commission. The Society also flagged the need to make greater use of pharmacists’ clinical skills, both to improve workforce retention and to provide seamless care as patients transfer between settings.
The commission, chaired by Anas Sarwar, member of Scottish parliament and shadow cabinet secretary for health and sport, is looking at what Sarwar described as a “crisis” in the health and social care workforce brought about by a shortage of staff. “At the heart of this consultation is a desire to make sure health and social care staffing is at the right level with the right skill mix,” he said.
Aileen Bryson, RPS Scotland practice and policy lead, attended parliament at Holyrood Palace on 2 July 2018 to talk to the commission.
Among issues facing the existing workforce, the Society flagged the lack of minimum staffing levels in community pharmacy; a shortage of pharmacy technicians; and that in community pharmacy “the primary focus remains on payment for supply, rather than the care which should accompany it.”
In addition, the Society said, the increasing numbers of pharmacists moving into GP pharmacist posts has left vacancies elsewhere in the sector, as has the introduction of seven-day working in secondary care with no additional resources made available to plug the gap.
The full written response is available on the RPS website. The Commission will collate and publish all responses at a later date.