The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for community pharmacists to be given access to NHS-funded mental health support services in a new campaign.
The campaign, launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day today (10 October), calls for equal access to services that support mental health and wellbeing for all pharmacists.
NHS-provided support services do not currently cover community pharmacists and others not directly employed by the NHS, such as pharmacists working in care homes and GP practices, the RPS said.
RPS president Sandra Gidley said: ‘We’ve heard from many of our members that they are experiencing pressures at work which affect their mental health and wellbeing. Many colleagues suffer stress, burnout or feel overwhelmed, yet cannot get the support they need.
‘As demands on the NHS rise, so do the pressures on individuals, their morale and their health. We want equal access for all to a support service that’s funded by the NHS. As the third largest health profession, pharmacists deserve no less.’
In May, The Pharmacist revealed that community pharmacists’ morale has hit an all-time low, according to a major survey by our parent company Cogora.
The RPS today launched a survey in partnership with charity Pharmacist Support to investigate the extent of the problem and the needs of pharmacists across all settings.
A report based on the survey’s findings will be presented to the Government by the end of the year, the RPS said.
Chief executive of Pharmacist Support Danielle Hunt said: ‘Having conducted our own market research earlier in the year – which revealed that 71% of respondents identified mental health as a key issue affecting the sector – this survey provides us with an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the issues.
‘The results of this research will help us shape our mental health and wellbeing support moving forward.’
She added that the charity provided almost 5,000 acts of support to pharmacists, trainees and MPharm students across the country through its wellbeing service in 2018 alone.
Ms Hunt said: ‘Support in this area is essential to ensuring an effective and resilient workforce. Working in partnership with the RPS on this issue will, we hope, bring about positive change for all in the profession.’