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Home  »   Latest News   »   More than half of pharmacists working in England’s multiples are looking to change roles or employment status in the next 12/18 months

More than half of pharmacists working in England’s multiples are looking to change roles or employment status in the next 12/18 months

A recent survey conducted by the PDA asked pharmacists in all four UK nations across all sectors of pharmacy about their current roles and future career plans.

Mon 7th March 2022 The PDA

On 5 February, the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) told the Telegraph Newspaper that vacancy rates have more than doubled between 2017 and 2021 for its member companies. The CCA claimed that almost a fifth of its members’ pharmacies will be forced to reduce their opening hours, limiting patient access to prescriptions, due to a shortfall of 3,000 pharmacists.

The CCA explained that plans for community pharmacy to do more in primary care “are merely a pipe dream unless the Government faces the facts.”  The article was also used by the CCA to call upon the government and the NHS to urgently deliver a workforce plan to prevent patients from facing long wait times and pharmacy closures. With pharmacist numbers at record levels (60,641 in 2021 compared to 43,500 in 2011), it was important to find out why the CCA members could not recruit pharmacists.

The PDA launched a short snapshot survey which closed on Friday 18 February 2022. Over 2,500 individuals responded and the PDA has released some of the initial feedback provided by employed and locum pharmacists.

The feedback showed that unsatisfactory pay and working environments, lack of professional fulfilment, and poor management all rank highly as reasons expressed by pharmacists for deciding to reconsider their current positions.

Feedback from those practicing in pharmacies owned by CCA members in England reported that 54% say that they are looking for a change in the next 12 to 18 months. 17% of these intend to become locums, 23% intend to work in another sector, 11% plan to retire whilst a shocking 27% intend to leave pharmacy altogether.

63% of all respondents to the survey reported that they do not believe that there is a shortage of pharmacists. However, 56% said that they were now working part-time and of these 74% said that they would no longer consider a full-time position.

PDA Chairman, Mark Koziol said, “Many pharmacists who work for CCA members have made clear that job dissatisfaction, substandard pay and in particular work environments have a strong bearing on their propensity to stay in their current post.

What many pharmacists seek is professional fulfilment, safer working environments, career development, and more sociable working hours.

63% of respondents to our survey said that they do not believe that there is a shortage of pharmacists in the UK, a view that is supported by data from various government bodies. The survey results appear to debunk the idea that a shortage of pharmacists is causing an increase in the CCA members’ vacancy rates.

The outcome of this latest survey, combined with the 2021 Safer Pharmacies Survey (the results of which have now been published), added to the recent PDA Stress and Wellbeing Survey, all paint a disappointing and alarming picture for pharmacists. The PDA believes this should be particularly concerning for CCA members. Something urgently needs to be done about improving the working conditions of pharmacists, to protect their health and wellbeing and improve recruitment and retention.”

Mark continued, “The most alarming finding is that the experience of many pharmacists means that they are choosing to leave the profession altogether, this means that an enormous human and societal investment is being squandered. There can be very little that is more damaging to the long-term interests of the profession.

CCA representatives should not argue that their members are the helpless victims of a national shortage of pharmacists and seek to place the responsibility for these problems elsewhere.

Those employers should instead face up to their responsibility for the working environments experienced by their pharmacists and put in place the repairs that are long overdue.”

The PDA will be releasing further results from the workforce survey over the coming weeks.

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