GPhC and CPhO statement on pressures in pharmacy
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPhO) for England have issued a letter to pharmacy professionals thanking them for providing vital health services and person-centred care at a time when pharmacies and pharmacy staff are working under significant pressure.
GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin and CPhO David Webb indicate that they recognise the impact on pharmacy teams both personally and professionally will be significant and potentially prolonged, and that pharmacy professionals may have to make some difficult decisions as they deal with the pressures they face. Going on to say that in the unlikely event that they are referred to the GPhC, the context in which they were working at the time will be taken into account.
The GPhC has a unique statutory role in relation to both ‘system’ regulation of registered pharmacies, as well as the regulation of individual pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
Community Pharmacy England welcomes the GPhC’s statement of support and that it has indicated that it ‘… expects employers, educational supervisors, professional bodies and national health and social care organisations to take the challenging situations you may be facing into account…’
We continue to encourage those who manage the pharmacy contract within NHS England and Integrated Care Systems to take a similar approach when considering issues faced by pharmacy owners during this time, as they seek to make patients their primary concern. This could be, for example, at times when pharmacies are overloaded with patients’ prescriptions due to pharmacy closures nearby, when they may not be able to dispense prescriptions as promptly as they usually do, or may even have to direct patients to other pharmacies, or undertake additional closed door working to ensure dispensing is carried out safely.
Community Pharmacy England is continuing to highlight the unsustainable pressures being faced by everyone working in community pharmacy and to press Government and the NHS to take actions to ease these. We will be launching our annual Pressures Survey in March this year to capture further evidence on this.
The GPhC also encourages pharmacy professionals to seek support from their employers if they need it, and for everyone in the sector to visit relevant NHS websites to find out what support is available there, to help them to protect their health and wellbeing.