The average salary of the 222 dispensers who responded to C+D’s Salary Survey 2019 and work between 35 and 45 hours a week increased by £701, from £15,785 in 2018 to £16,486.
Some 70% of dispensers who completed the survey said they were dissatisfied with their pay. Out of these, 78% blamed their dissatisfaction on their employer, while 19% blamed the government for “not giving pharmacy enough funding”.
Of the respondents, 34% believe they should earn 6-10% more than their current salary, while another 38% said they should earn 3-5% more.
One dispensary assistant said: “Pay for dispensers should not be less than a checkout operator considering the risk involved.”
Another said: “Pay for dispensers is usually not enough to support living in London.”
One respondent said they were “given the lowest pay possible, for an important job that is highly stressful as [there is] not enough staff”.
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Nearly all dispensers stressed
Almost all (98%) dispensers who completed the survey said they have high stress levels.
Several said they suffer abuse from patients, with one stating that after work they “go straight to bed, because of the stress and emotional trauma from people being abusive”.
Another respondent said they were “very overworked and under immense pressure to meet targets”.
One said: “My stress levels have never been higher.”
“Dangerous” staffing levels
Almost nine in 10 dispensers (87%) said staffing levels in their pharmacies were low, with over a third (35%) saying they were “so low it is dangerous”.
One respondent said they saw “constant errors and near misses because of the lack of staff”.
Another said: “We often aren’t provided with accuracy checking technician cover during periods of [staff absences]. This has directly resulted in errors, the most recent being a controlled drug error.”
One dispenser said their company “thinks two members of staff to cover three counters is over-staffed”.
The C+D Salary Survey 2019 – the largest UK survey of community pharmacy, and the biggest in the survey's 12-year history – ran between October 1 and November 14 and was completed by a total of 2,556 pharmacists and pharmacy staff. C+D's ongoing coverage from the survey can be found on our dedicated hub.
Search through pharmacy staff roles on the C+D Jobs website.