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The high pressure and stress of working as a community pharmacist

April marks Stress Awareness Month, and the PDA and its members are highlighting the numerous workplace issues which cause stress and damage to mental health.

Tue 19th April 2022 The PDA

Here, Community Pharmacist, PDA Lloyds Rep and Regional Committee Member, Anjlee Shah shares her experience of coping with high-stress levels in the community pharmacy sector.

With an ever-increasing workload and pressures on pharmacy with limited resources, time and staffing, life as a community pharmacist can be stressful. Work pressures have been at an all-time high in community pharmacy amidst the pandemic, we’re easily accessible to patients and aim to reduce the burden on GPs.

We have a focus on provision of NHS and private services on top of our many other duties. Many of these are pharmacist-led services and cannot be delegated to other members of the pharmacy team. For example, the Hypertension case-finding service only allows pharmacists to undertake blood pressure readings under the scope of the service and not utilise other members of the pharmacy team. Managing and balancing other work with the provision of these services, whilst also being immediately accessible to patients, can be challenging.

For example at Lloyds, the introduction of the LS Retail system brought a whole new set of issues to deal with, affecting dispensary activities and efficiency. System outages have put teams under extreme pressures with some pharmacists needing to resort to handwriting labels to ensure patients have their medication. Where basic dispensing functions have been compromised some pharmacists have experienced abuse from patients in these situations, which is not acceptable.

Meeting such high pressures and demands safely while feeling unsupported can cause stress and affect mental health and well-being. There are many factors that can cause stress in the workplace. We all have different thresholds and coping capacities. Ideally, we need to manage feelings of stress before it leads to burnout or snowballs into other mental health issues.

PDA Workplace Reps are well placed to actively listen to member concerns and present these to the company with workable solutions. I strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with your Workplace Reps who are there to support you and make sure that you contact us at the earliest opportunity.

By Anjlee Shah, Community Pharmacist, PDA Lloyds Rep and PDA West and Wales Regional Committee Member

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