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RPS urges pharmacy minister to support pharmacists' mental wellbeing

The RPS welcomed the new pharmacy minister in a letter sent on August 9
The RPS welcomed the new pharmacy minister in a letter sent on August 9

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has written to the pharmacy minister Jo Churchill to ask for her support in improving the mental health and wellbeing of pharmacists.

RPS English pharmacy board chair Professor Claire Anderson congratulated Ms Churchill on her appointment as pharmacy minister and asked her to continue the work of her predecessors around this “important issue”, so pharmacists can “continue to provide safe and effective care”, in a letter sent to the minister on August 9, and seen by C+D.

The RPS has already had “constructive discussions” with NHS England on workforce health, “and would ask for your support as we continue working with them and others across the profession”, Professor Anderson added.

In January, Professor Anderson's predecessor – and current RPS president – Sandra Gidley handed a briefing document created by C+D to England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge, to persuade him of the growing problem of stress among community pharmacists.

Investment and integration needed

Professor Anderson highlighted the NHS long-term plan's focus on the specialised skills that pharmacists have to offer, and further emphasised the RPS’s call for pharmacists to be “better integrated across the health service”.

She called for “much needed investment in foundation training and professional development”, which will help the success of the long-term plan by “educating and training the workforce for the future”.

Medicines shortages

The “uncertainty” around Brexit could have “wide-ranging implications for the supply of medicines”, Professor Anderson warned in the letter.

The RPS would “continue to engage constructively” with the Department of Health and Social Care, to “mitigate the risks” that a no-deal Brexit may bring, including “new measures to further enable pharmacists to help alleviate potential serious medicines shortages”, she added.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues further and would be happy to help facilitate a site visit to see pharmacists working first-hand.”

C+D takes pharmacy pressures to parliament

C+D – in partnership with Pharmacist Support – is heading to parliament on September 9 to highlight to MPs the growing issue of pressures on pharmacists.

Find out more about the event, and share your own experiences with C+D’s features editor by emailing [email protected], or tweeting @ChemistDruggist.

What do you think Ms Churchill should tackle first as pharmacy minister?

Andrew Low, Community pharmacist

What does this question mean,please?Who do you mean by the culprit?It is not clear what you mean.The culprits are the pharmacists I would say by your reactions to the gift of Sahaja Yoga.It's time for pharmacists to face themselves.They have played no part so far in Sahaja Yoga,with no acknowledgement of the painful birth of collective consciousness,and little thought of mental health problems beyond the stress they feel themselves.

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

The RPS has no clout at all. Nobody cares what they say, least of all government ministers. I can envision the conversation now:

"Minister - the RPS has asked you to address stress amongst community pharmacists, apparently this has become an issue now."


"The Royal Pharmaceutical Society."


"Never mind, next order of business is...."

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist

When will anyone with any brain cells understand about this and do something quickly

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'When will anyone with any brain cells understand about this and do something quickly'

The people with power have no incentive to do anything about it:

1) Employee / locum pharmacists couldnt be bothered to unionise in any meaningful way. Everyman for himself has always been the way. Without the threat of collective action, there is nothing to fear

2) Pharmacists are incapable of saying no to customers, management, GPs, care homes etc. They have always been weak in the face of demands on their time and effort.

3) A large proportion of employee / locum pharmacists are 'a few days a week to fit around the kids / play golf / pay for holidays' type. They can tolerate a few days of chaos and have no interest in doing anything about it.

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist

I agree one million percent with this. Pharmacists are weak in fact if they had any respect for themselves they would not be a pushover. Multiples have area managers who are inexperienced and have no respect for their colleagues And have arrogant attitudes when complaints are made  I’m ashamed to be in this profession 


Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

The best thing for stress is to address the understaffed, overworked pharmacies, which is actually the cause of the issue.

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist

Agree, THE CULPRIT , the root of the problem and bad management by inexperienced managers

Andrew Low, Community pharmacist

Useful for stress relief is Sahaja Yoga meditation,which is free.It would be good to pass on to patients as well.Pharmacists could lead the way.Sahaja Yoga is free.There is a book "Silence Your Mind" by Dr Ramesh Manocha (GP and researcher at the university of Sydney) which provides important medical evidence.The guru Shree Mataji Nirmala Devi was awarded a United Nations Peace medal in 1989.Claes Nobel thanked Her for giving hope to humanity in a talk at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1997,which you can see on YouTube.There is the documentary "The Vision" on YouTube as well (33 minutes well spent).This would help pharmacists relax and help provide some solutions to the national headaches.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

""" (33 minutes well spent)"""

Where do we get this 33 minutes to spend, when we cant spend any quality time on ourselves or the family??

May be for people who have retired comfortably with a huge pension and no debts to repay, who can then use this to control their minds from all the investments they have made and how to keep it growing.

Andrew Low, Community pharmacist

Sahaja Yoga can work not just for the healthcare professional but for the patients,and patients are ultimately the customers.It is remarkable,truly remarkable,to see how intelligent people like pharmacists do not see immediately the benefits that Sahaja Yoga could bring.Start thinking about the minds of the poor patients.Take off your "blinkers",which may help you keep locked away hidden in dispensaries,but which stop you seeing collective considerations.You are arguing against the UN,Claes Nobel and medical evidence,just remember that.

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist

I do agree some types of Yoga are good for stress

However, how does this help if you have to face the culprit again and again? Get rid of the culprit then problem resolved.  

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