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RPS endorses new RSHE Guidance highlighting pharmacists’ role in self-care


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The RSHE consultation, focusing on the role of pharmacists in self-care, will be open for feedback until July 11

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has expressed its strong support for the Department of Education’s consultation on revising the statutory guidance for Relationships, Sex, and Health Education (RSHE) and the proposal to increase awareness of the role pharmacists in the provision of self-care.

The Department of Education has announced revisions to the Relationships, Sex, and Health Education (RHSE) statutory guidance and is currently gathering feedback through an online survey.

Welcoming the proposal to educate pupils about self-care and the vital role of pharmacists in managing minor ailments under the health protection and prevention section of the guidance, the RPS expressed their support “to include acknowledgement of the critical role that pharmacists play in self-care.”

The ongoing review aims to ensure that the guidance equips schools to deliver high-quality RSHE, addressing the needs of children and young people.

This statutory guidance from the Department for Education, rooted in sections 80A of the Education Act 2002 and 403 of the Education Act 1996, is integral to preparing students for adult life by fostering informed and ethical decisions regarding their wellbeing, health, and relationships.

Although, RPS is “not an expert in terms of Relationships and Sex education and Health education statutory guidance” and is “unable to comment in detail on the majority of the content”, Tase Oputu, RPS England Board Chair, said:

“We welcome the addition of the fact that pupils should know how and when to self-care for minor ailments, and the role of pharmacists as knowledgeable healthcare professionals,” she said in reference to the section on Health and Wellbeing.

“It is vital that people from a young age are taught about self-care and the fact they can approach their local pharmacist for advice on minor ailments and the use of medicines.

“Self-care supports individuals to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.

“The development of Pharmacy First means pharmacists can now deal with a range of conditions that require antibiotic treatments and we would expect this to develop to include further conditions in the future.”

Within the the guidance, the health protection and prevention section emphasises the importance of pharmacists in areas pertaining minor ailments and navigating the healthcare system.

The guidance will review the results of the consultation, which is open until Thursday, July 11.

Additionally, the curriculum will cover the benefits of regular self-examination and screening, immunisation, and the significance of healthy behaviours before and during pregnancy.

Moreover, it will highlight “what a GP is, when to use A&E / minor injuries, accessing sexual health and family planning clinics, the role of local pharmacies.”

Subjected to Ofsted inspections, health education is mandatory in all schools except, independent ones, to ensure schools provide a well-rounded and balanced curriculum. 


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