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Well tempts overseas pharmacists with £8k support package and training offer

Well Pharmacy is seeking to grow its workforce by offering overseas pharmacists a support package worth up to £8,000 as well as “bespoke training”, it has emerged.  

The multiple is offering pharmacists from countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) “support in relocating to the UK”, as the move from overseas is “likely to be a big life change for them”, Well resourcing manager Jo Riley confirmed yesterday (November 17).

Pharmacists relocating from overseas will have access to “a new bespoke eight-week training programme for overseas pharmacists from 2023”, she told C+D.

“Development will obviously be continuous, but we hope this early focus will ensure they understand how we do things in pharmacies in the UK and within Well,” Ms Riley explained.


Up to £8k with first pay package


Well will also offer these pharmacists a taxable support package of up to £8,000, which they will receive along with their first pay package, the multiple wrote in a LinkedIn post published last week.

They will receive a starting salary of £52,000 per year, it added.

It also promised to cover overseas pharmacists’ visa costs and General Pharmaceutical Council fees, as well as the first four weeks of their accommodation in the UK.

Pharmacists will be eligible if they have an MPharm degree from a UK or EEA university, Well wrote.


Well “keen to follow any avenue”


Well was “delighted” at the Home Office’s decision to add pharmacists to the shortage occupation list in March 2021, “given the workforce challenges impacting the profession”, Ms Riley told C+D.

“It means we can seek to build our teams from an even wider range of talented candidates,” she stated.

Well is not the only multiple to support the Home Office’s decision, as Boots said in March that it thought it would help the profession meet its “recruitment needs”.

Read more: Why did the Home Office add pharmacists to the shortage occupation list?

Well wants to install “permanent pharmacists in all our pharmacies so that they – and their teams – are a solid and ever-present part of the communities that they serve”, Ms Riley added.

As such, the multiple is “keen to follow any avenue” to recruit potential pharmacist candidates, she said.

She urged interested parties to check for vacancies on Well’s website.

According to Health Education England’s Community Pharmacy Workforce Survey published earlier this year, the number of pharmacists working in community pharmacy actually grew by 4,122 between 2017 and 2021.

Some locum pharmacists and the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) have therefore questioned whether pharmacists should be on the shortage occupation list.

Meanwhile, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee CEO, Janet Morrison, warned delegates at a Sigma conference in October that the financially incentivised recruitment of pharmacists into primary care network roles is "absolutely shooting community pharmacy in the foot".

Catch up with C+D’s Big Debate, which asked: What needs to be done to make community pharmacy a more attractive career prospect?


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