Last month's government decision to leave student numbers uncapped came as a shock to the sector. Not only did the vast majority of pharmacy bodies voice support for some form of control, but the government declined to reveal the evidence that informed its decision. So what does the data say on the pharmacy workforce?
1. How many pharmacy schools opened in England between 1999 and 2009?a) 9 b) 10 c) 11
2. By what percentage did the number of pharmacy students in England increase over the same period?a) 83 per cent b) 103 per cent c) 133 per cent
3. How many pharmacists joined the GPhC register for the first time between 2010 and 2011?a) 1,269 b) 1,369 c) 1,469
4. What percentage of pharmacists registered with the GPhC are aged 39 or younger?a) 44 per cent b) 54 per cent c) 64 per cent
5. How many registered pharmacists are there per 100,000 people in England?a) 60-65 b) 70-75 c) 80-85
6. In the worst case scenario, there could be an oversupply of how many pharmacists by 2040, according to the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI)?a) 15,000 b) 17,000 c) 19,000
7. What percentage of the pharmacy workforce in England works in the community pharmacy sector?a) 51 per cent b) 61 per cent c) 71 per cent Answers 1. a) The number of pharmacy schools in England increased from 12 in 1999 to 21 in 2009. The new openings included schools in Huddersfield, Reading and Central Lancashire. 2. c) The number of students rocketed from 4,200 to 9,800 between 1999 and 2009. 3. a) A total of 1,269 new pharmacists came onto the GPhC register in 2010 and 2011 – more than the previous six years put together, found a 2011 analysis of the GPhC register by the University of Manchester. 4. b) Just over half of pharmacists were aged 39 or younger, found the GPhC register analysis. Nearly a quarter were 29 years or younger. 5. b) There are between 70 and 75 registered pharmacists per 100,000 population in 2013 – higher than the European average of 60. 6. c) If technological advances result in a narrower role for pharmacists, there could be 19,000 excess pharmacists by 2040 – equating to roughly half of pharmacists on the register in England today – according to the CfWI. Even in the best case scenario, it estimates an oversupply of 11,000 pharmacists. 7. c) The community sector employs 71 per cent of the pharmacy workforce, while 21 per cent work in the hospital sector.
Unless specified otherwise, all figures are from A strategic review of the future pharmacist workforce, published by the CfWI in September 2013