RPS Director Robbie Turner

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for an extension of a new pilot on ‘protected learning time’ across Great Britain.

The 12-month pilot led by the Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) will explore the value of three different models of protected learning time in community pharmacy.

“We’re calling for it to be replicated on a bigger scale in England and Scotland so more data can be collected on the approaches that most benefit pharmacists and to help support protected learning time for pharmacists to become reality across Great Britain,” said RPS director of pharmacy and member experience Robbie Turner.

The project will also consider mentor input and attendance at training during the pilot.

“Regular paid protected learning time should be standard practice for all pharmacists in all sectors, regardless of career stage,” Turner said.

For several years, pharmacists have been using their own time to acquire new skills that are essential to their role and service, which can increase stress level as they cannot ‘switch off’ after work, he added.

“Apart from professional advancement, protected learning time as a group can help with team-building and improving staff morale, which is essential to wellbeing, as well as improving services to patients,” Turner said.

Protected learning time will become more crucial in providing safe services to patients, as pharmacists these days are entering multi-disciplinary team and take on more clinical roles, he said.

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