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Workplace pressures – what do the pharmacy bodies think?

The RPS has received concerns about professional autonomy, while Pharmacy Voice warns government plans could "exacerbate" pressures

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has urged the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to “move quickly from words to action” during its “programme of work” on pressures in pharmacy.

The regulator announced last week (June 15) that it will “address the issues raised” by a Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) survey on how target pressures compromise patient safety.

As well as hosting an event on the topic in October, it will also meet with a range of stakeholders, including pharmacy owners, to find out how they support their staff to "do the right thing in the first place", it said.

"Significant concerns" about autonomy

In response to the news, the RPS said it has been contacted by pharmacists raising “significant concerns” about professional autonomy, safe staffing levels, workload and rest breaks. Many of these pharmacists have also raised these issues with the GPhC, it added.

“Additional scrutiny” about target pressures in the Guardian’s coverage of the PDA’s survey in April should not be ignored, “however unfortunate the timing” , the RPS stressed.

It expects to play a “key role” in the GPhC’s discussions on target pressures, and urged trade bodies such as Pharmacy Voice to work with employers to “bring about a new covenant between the profession and those that employ them”, it said.

“The profession and patients need the GPhC and employers to make the rhetoric of professional autonomy into reality for those that work at the coal face every day,” the RPS added.

Action across the system

Pharmacy Voice told C+D that action to reduce workplace pressures is "required across the whole system".

"We meed honesty from all organisations – commercial, trade sector and professional – about taking this issue seriously," it said.

The government's plans to "reform" the sector will "only exacerbate" the pressures faced by pharmacy teams, and Pharmacy Voice "urges" the GPhC to take this into account.

Pharmacy Voice looks forward to working with the regulator to ensure that the issues raised are "properly considered and understood, so that this ends up making a real and constructive difference", it said.

"We have the wherewithal to tackle this [issue] together, if there is a willingness to do so," it said.

"A useful job"

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) told C+D the GPhC’s initiative will have done a “useful job” if it helps to promote professional excellence.

“The NPA has always promoted best practice and we will continue to give practical help to our members to achieve the highest professional standards,” it said.


How do you think the GPhC should deal with workplace pressures?

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