GPhC to address issues relating to professionalism under pressure

The GPhC has today outlined how it intends to work with people and organisations from inside and outside pharmacy to examine and understand workplace pressures across the pharmacy sector, including through a seminar to be held in October.

Recent articles in the Guardian and pharmacy press, which reported the outcomes of a survey by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association, have highlighted workplace pressures experienced by pharmacy professionals working in different companies and settings. 

In a message sent to all pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy owners via Regulate, the GPhC’s e-bulletin, Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin said:

“We recognise that pharmacy professionals working in a wide variety of roles and settings will experience significant challenges in trying to provide high quality care to patients and the public while dealing with limited resources or other workplace pressures.

“It is important that everyone involved works to ensure that a balance is struck which protects and promotes the health and wellbeing of patients and the public, empowers pharmacy professionals to work with service users to make good decisions about care and enables companies to pursue legitimate business interests in an ethical way.

“We want to create an opportunity for all of us – regulators, the NHS, companies, professionals and representative bodies to consider these complex and challenging issues in depth, to inform the work we have to do individually and collectively.”

An article in Regulate sets out the steps the GPhC plans to take, including holding an event in October to bring people together from inside and outside pharmacy, to consider what role different organisations and individuals can play to address the issues raised. Recognising that these challenges are not unique to pharmacy, this event will be chaired by Professor Nairn Wilson, who has recently completed his term of office as President of the dentists’ professional association and trade union, the British Dental Association (1).

The GPhC will also be meeting with a range of stakeholders, including pharmacy owners, to hear from them how they support their professional staff to do the right thing in the first place.

The GPhC also confirmed in the article that it would not be focusing on an investigation into any one particular company. The Pharmacists’ Defence Association survey results themselves and the reactions to them have indicated that workplace pressures are not an issue for just one company, but a wider issue for the sector to which everyone within pharmacy needs to consider and respond. The GPhC’s detailed analysis of the survey results has helped to inform its planned response to the issues raised.

A copy of Duncan Rudkin’s blog and an accompanying article in Regulate, the GPhC’s e-bulletin for registrants, will be available online.