November LPC Conference: Workforce issues are key concern

Workforce issues, staff retention and capacity are amongst the key concerns and priorities for LPCs in the coming months.

The November Meeting of LPCs and PSNC held earlier this month focused on the challenges currently facing the community pharmacy sector and planning for 2022, including the continuing workforce pressures on contractors. The event was attended by delegates representing 66 LPCs, with some attending in-person and some virtually.

At the conference, delegates heard from Marc Donovan, PSNC Committee Member and Chair of the Community Pharmacy Workforce Development Group (CPWDG), on this issue and, when asked to indicate the top challenges for contractors and their LPC’s priorities, the poll responses confirmed that both workforce and funding issues were at the top of their list.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of delegates said workforce was the top challenge faced by contractors at the moment. They also provided suggestions for the CPWDG’s priorities, which included: reducing the migration of pharmacists to Primary Care Networks (PCNs), improving the development opportunities available for pharmacists and their teams, and rebranding the profession to make community pharmacy a more attractive route for young graduates. Further feedback indicated that PSNC could gather insights on workforce development via meetings of the PSNC/LPC Operations Team (PLOT) and by conducting regular workforce surveys.

Delegates at the November meeting were also asked about the development of Integrated Care Systems (ICS). The majority of respondents were positive about their LPC’s engagement with local ICS and looking ahead, eight out of ten agreed with mapping the future LPC network around ICS, given their growing importance in the healthcare landscape.

Towards the end of the meeting, LPCs were asked what workstreams they were most proud of. Relationships, representation, and supporting patients and contractors were strong contenders amongst the wide range of activities mentioned.

The results of these temperature check polls will help PSNC to prioritise its workstreams for the coming months.

Though workforce issues were the main focus of the November meeting, delegates were also given updates from the PSNC Leadership Team, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and the Pharmacy Representation Review Steering Group (RSG). Further information from the conference, including slides from some of the presentations, will be available for LPCs shortly.

Poll results

Disclaimer: Whilst all delegates were given the opportunity to respond to these polls, some chose not to. An average of 75 responses were submitted to each of these five polls.

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