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RPS welcomes NHSE’s report on the involvement of pharmacy professionals in research

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Protected time and support identified as the most significant enablers for fostering clinical academic pharmacy careers

The NHS England last week released a survey report on the involvement of pharmacy professionals in research, and proposed the implementation of a clinical academic training pathway for pharmacy professionals by 2030.

Recommendations were made to support the embedding of research at all stages of a pharmacy professional’s career.

The report presented the findings of two surveys that NHS England launched in May 2022, one for individual pharmacy professionals and one for organisations, calling for evidence on clinical academic careers in pharmacy.

The survey found that only a minority of the pharmacy workforce take up clinical research training opportunities.

“Just under a quarter of individual respondents had applied for the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) or other research project grants, and just under half of the organisational survey respondents had supported individuals to apply for such a grant,” it said.

Lack of protected time, support from employing organisations and funding were identified as the most frequently perceived barriers to research training and capacity building among individual respondents.

Among organisational respondents, the key barriers were lack of funding to build research capacity and joint funded posts such as between the NHS and a university.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has welcomed the recommendations of the report.

RPS President Claire Anderson said: “Research is an essential pillar of professional practice, driving continued professional innovation and advancement in care for patients.”

“Professional engagement with research, supported by a network of clinical academics, is vital for the profession’s growth.”

Furthermore, the report suggested embedding RPS curricula frameworks into pharmacists’ job descriptions by 2026.

Anderson said this initiative aligns with the RPS’s mission to integrate research activities across all pharmacy sectors, which will help grow a cohort of “research-engaged pharmacists ready to lead the pharmacy research agenda.”

Acknowledging the difficulties pharmacists face in managing research alongside demanding frontline responsibilities, the RPS advocated for protected learning time, as outlined in its policy and echoed by the report.

“Adequate funding is crucial to overcoming these barriers and delivering the report’s vision,” Anderson added.

 

 

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