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PDA: Pharmacy’s funding uplift must improve staffing levels


PDA: Pharmacy’s funding uplift must improve staffing levels

By Neil Trainis

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said it hopes the government’s promise of new money to help community pharmacies provide three key services “will translate” into investment for safe staffing, better working conditions and good quality training with protected learning time.

The pharmacy sector has largely reacted positively to Number 10’s pledge of £645 million in fresh funding to help pharmacies in England roll out a Pharmacy First service and contraception and hypertension case-finding services. Optimism, though, has been tempered by a lack of details which are still be ironed out between the PSNC and government.

The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pharmacy Taiwo Owatemi yesterday said the funding was “too little, too late” and claimed “government failure has already resulted in deep-rooted workforce issues and serious supply constraints.”

The PDA said it “cautiously” welcomed the announcement, including NHS England’s insistence that it will give pharmacies read-write access to patient records, but its director of policy Alison Jones warned funding must be directed towards ensuring pharmacies are properly resourced.

Insisting PDA members had reported “extraordinarily high levels of workload and burnout,” she said “serious consideration” must be given to ensuring pharmacies have more than one pharmacist “if this NHS vision is to be delivered.”

“Should such a consideration be made, it could go a long way in addressing some of these issues and support the return of many highly qualified and experienced pharmacists to the community sector,” she said, insisting community pharmacy could “become more attractive to newly qualified pharmacists” if funding is channelled in the right way.

“Importantly, to deliver the intended increased levels of access to primary care as outlined by the government in its plan, it is imperative that there is always a pharmacist on the pharmacy premises to help to manage both the expectations of patients and the wider NHS,” Ms Jones said.

She said pharmacists could be enticed into community pharmacy by the “professional incentive of working in a more patient-facing, collegiate, and professionally fulfilling structure” and “delivering an increased portfolio of services whilst keeping patient safety at the forefront.”

She also urged the government to consider locums in “any training and development opportunities around the expansion of services.”

“The locum workforce is large and it is critical to the community pharmacy network. However, it is often overlooked when major plans are laid,” she said.

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