Pharmacy Research UK Response to GPhC plan of action to tackle workplace pressures

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has recently announced its intention to work with people and organisations both inside and outside of pharmacy to examine and understand workplace pressures across the sector. Pharmacy Research UK (PRUK) (1) welcomes this plan of action and has long expressed concern about the effect of high mental workload and workplace stress on patient care.

PRUK has funded two high quality pieces of research to show the impact of work place pressures and additionally outlined recommendations to ensure that pharmacists are well supported in the workplace and patient care is not compromised.

In 2013 PRUK published a report in conjunction with the University of Bath into the effects of mental workload on community pharmacists’ ability to detect dispensing errors (2). The research showed that heightened mental workload increased the likelihood of missing dispensing errors and therefore it is critical that pharmacists operate in an environment where distractions and interruptions are minimised.

Earlier in 2013, PRUK also published a scoping study in conjunction with the University of Manchester and the Manchester Pharmacy School (3) into managing workplace stress to enhance safer practice in community pharmacy. This report outlines strategies for individual pharmacists, the employer-organisation interface and organisational level.

PRUK is looking forward to the GPhC activities in the Autumn and expects to highlight this and other relevant evidence as part of this process to ensure that its recommendations can be implemented into community pharmacy settings and reduce workplace pressures on pharmacists.

For more information please contact Kate Woode at kate.woode@rpharms.com.


1. PRUK is the principle funder of pharmacy research in the UK. Founded as a result of a merger in 2012 of two previous research funding charities, PRUK has a broad programme of research in place. PRUK funds both research projects and individual bursaries to improve skills across the pharmacy sector. Registered charity number 1148335.

2. For the full report ‘The effects of mental workload on community pharmacists’ ability to detect dispensing errors, Family, H.A., Weiss, M. and Sutton, J.’, see http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Executive-Summary.pdf

3. For the full report on ‘Managing workplace stress to enhance safer practice in community pharmacy: a scoping study, Jacobs, S., Hassell, K. and Johnson, S.’ see http://pharmacyresearchuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Managing-workplace-stress-to-enhance-safer-practice-in-community-pharmac-a-scoping-study-executive-summary.pdf

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