The House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee published its report yesterday (25 July) on the recent inquiry: Workforce: recruitment, training and retention in health and social care. The report included the following recommendation regarding community pharmacy:
“There is an opportunity to better utilise the pharmacy workforce, and in doing so, to optimise workloads across primary care, reduce pressure on general practice and hospitals, and support integrated care systems. This optimisation will not be possible without an integrated and funded workforce plan for a pharmacy which must be developed and laid before Parliament within 12 months. The plan must ensure that all pharmacists have adequate access to supervision, training, and protected learning time, along with clear structures for professional career development into advanced and consultant-level practice. The workforce plan for pharmacy must consider that by 2027 all newly qualified pharmacists will be independent prescribers and ensure that these graduates are given protected learning time, adequate supervision, and career development opportunities.”
In response to the report, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIM), Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and PSNC released the below statement:
“We strongly welcome the recommendation of MPs on the Health & Social Care Select Committee for an urgent, funded workforce plan for pharmacy, which will ‘optimise workloads across primary care, reduce pressure on general practice and hospitals, and support integrated care systems.
“We recently wrote to the Chair of the committee, Jeremy Hunt MP, to highlight our continued concerns regarding the workforce challenges, coupled with 8-years of a real terms decrease in funding, that the community pharmacy sector is experiencing.
“Pharmacies of all sizes are struggling and worried about both the availability of pharmacists, and about rapidly-inflating locum rates. Both of these could limit pharmacies’ ability to reach their full potential to both help patients and support the wider NHS.
“We welcome the MPs’ recognition of these issues and urge the Government to take forward a long-term workforce development plan for a pharmacy to start to address them. This, combined with sustainable funding for the sector, would mean that all pharmacies can continue offering the safe and high-quality services that patients and the NHS have come to rely on.”