Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) England and Pharmacists Defence Association (PDA) have joined with professional bodies, trade unions and patient groups to call on the government to publish the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan.
A joint letter signed by almost 40 organisations raises concerns over ongoing delays to the publication of the workforce plan and urges the Prime Minister to take urgent action to help meet current and future patient needs.
English Pharmacy Board Chair Thorrun Govind said: “The range of health and care leaders backing this letter shows just how important it is that the Government acts now to support our workforce.
“It is vital that we recruit and retain the staff we need so we can keep looking after patients.
“When we met NHS England in January, pharmacy leaders called for the plan to include the whole of pharmacy and to recognise the increasing role of pharmacist independent prescribers in our health service.
“With teams under pressure across the system, this workforce plan also needs to support staff retention, secure protected time for learning and development, and ensure continued access to wellbeing services.”
PDA commented: “The workforce plan was originally earmarked for publication in Spring 2022 but has still not been published. Media speculation suggests that there is a disagreement between the Treasury and Department for Health and Social Care on the scale of the staffing needed for the NHS and other sectors.
Meanwhile pharmacists see first hand the impact on patients from understaffing across the health system. Understaffing also has an adverse impact on the wellbeing of those staff who are in post.”
The signatories have warned the Government that it will take time to resolve this situation. Every day of delay in committing to action pushes back when patients will see the improvements they deserve.