The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) Pharmacy Pressures Survey 2022 highlighted that 67% of pharmacies are having to deal with medicine supply issues every day. Further to this 75% of pharmacies have reported experiencing aggression from patients due to medicine supply issues. No doubt this is contributing to the distress of the 82% of pharmacy team members who said that their work was having a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Coupled with this the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) 2022 Workforce Wellbeing survey, further paints a worrying picture, with 88% at high risk of burnout.

Whilst we are busy caring for others in the pharmacy, it can be easy to put our own health and wellbeing on the backburner. We may also have caring responsibilities for others, or others who rely on us, which is a further pressure and worry to add to an already hectic workday. If everything is getting too much, you aren’t on your own. There are a number of organisations that can help support you;

Professional Support is available from organisations such as the RPS, National Pharmacy Association (NPA), and PSNC. Depending on the nature of your query, they may be able to provide information via telephone or email for clinical or professional queries or direct you to other sources of information. Your local LPC may also be able to provide support when it comes to the provision of local services from the pharmacy you are working in.

Sources of Support

Pharmacist Support is the profession’s independent charity and they provide a wide variety of free and confidential support services, including Financial Assistance, Addiction Support, Counselling and Peer Support. The team at Pharmacist Support not only supports pharmacists, but also trainees, students and dependants. The case studies on the Pharmacist Support website from those who have received support from the charity, show the wide range of support available and how integral the charity is to supporting members of our profession in a variety of ways. They have helped students finish their pharmacy studies with financial support and assisted pharmacists with peer support in managing workplace stress. The charity is aided by donations and a moment I will never forget was doing a Santa Run, in a far too big Santa suit, to raise money!

When it comes to legal support, your indemnity insurers can provide valuable advice and it is best to check in with them earlier rather than later. Failing to do so within a specific time may give your insurer grounds to refuse to cover a claim due to late notification. Indemnity arrangements should be adequate and appropriate for the risks and nature of your scope of practice and it is good to review this yearly and when you change or add roles. Look into the detail of the cover that it is available and remember that it is important to shop around and ensure that the cover is specific to your needs. The devil really is in the detail when it comes to indemnity cover.

Wellbeing support is also available from a number of app’s but those recommended by the NHS are best to consider for yourself and may also be useful to recommend to patients. Those with an NHS email address have been given free access to a number of wellbeing apps to support with their mental health and wellbeing;

The Stay Alive app is a suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis. The app also provides helpful advice if you are worried about someone, with tips on warning signs and practical steps to help. It also helps tackle myths around suicide.

Bright Sky is a free to download, confidential mobile app providing support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know. It is also available to use in Polish, Punjabi and Urdu. Once installed, users can search for their nearest support centre by area, postcode or their current location. The app also includes a short questionnaire to help users identify different forms of abuse and the types of support available. The app offers steps to consider when leaving an abusive relationship. There is also a secure journal tool that enables users to keep a record of domestic abuse incidents with none of the content being saved on the device itself.

Headspace is a science-backed app in mindfulness and meditation, providing unique tools and resources to help reduce stress, build resilience, and aid better sleep. I first gave Headspace a go during lockdown. Whilst I wasn’t very good at using it daily, I mainly enjoyed listening to the sound of rain to help me fall asleep!

The NHS also has urgent mental health helplines available for people of all ages in England. These provide 24-hour advice and support for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for. These lines provide access to a mental health professional in an emergency and link you to your local NHS mental health service.

There above is by no means an exhaustive list of support options available, your colleagues and friends may also be of great assistance. Sometimes it can even help talking to someone outside of the profession for a different perspective. When you are struggling it can undoubtedly be hard to reach out, but please know you aren’t on your own.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!
Locate a Locum Team