The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is planning to write a letter to the pharmacy minister urging for pharmacists to receive the same level of stress-relief funding as GPs.

RPS’s English pharmacy board chair Sandra Gidley told The Pharmacist today (26 June) that the RPS will write a letter to Winchester MP Steve Brine to raise the ‘question of stress’ in the profession.

Her comments come after the board held a two-day meeting on 20-21 June, where it discussed various issues including the impact of the Government’s cuts to community pharmacy.


Lack of parity


In January 2017, NHS England introduced a £19.5m nationwide health service for GPs as part of its commitment to improve access to mental health support for GPs and trainee GPs suffering from mental health issues and addiction.

There is no comparative fund for pharmacy professionals.

Research published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice suggested that stress in the pharmacy workplace is increasing due to pharmacists’ expanding roles, rising workload and the impact of the Government’s cuts to pharmacy funding on morale.


‘Gap in support’


Last year, charity Pharmacist Support chief executive Diane Leicester-Hallam told The Pharmacist that although there are a number of support services and initiatives aimed at doctors, dentists or nurses, ‘there seems to be a gap in support for pharmacists’.

She said: ‘Stress connects many of the calls and emails we receive at Pharmacist Support. Reports of low morale are relatively common among our enquirers.’

In 2016 alone, the charity dealt with more than 1,000 enquiries from individuals dealing with stressful situations.