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C+D heads to parliament to highlight growing pressures on pharmacists

The event will take place in the Houses of Parliament on September 9

C+D will be hosting a parliamentary event in September to highlight the growing pressures on community pharmacists.

The event – organised with charity Pharmacist Support and backed by all-party pharmacy group chair Sir Kevin Barron MP – will be held in the Houses of Parliament on September 9. The aim is to highlight the growing financial and workload pressures affecting the profession, as well as the impact this is having on pharmacists’ wellbeing.

Data from C+D’s Salary Survey 2018 revealed that stress levels among UK pharmacists had risen six percentage points over the previous years. Stress-related problems affecting readers included: trouble sleeping, cited by 43% of pharmacists; depression (27%); drinking more than usual (11%); and suicidal thoughts (6%).

C+D’s document – which you can download here – was presented by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Sandra Gidley to NHS England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge in January.

C+D editor James Waldron said: “Our survey findings and conversations we have with pharmacists every day remind us that pressures on pharmacists and their staff are only increasing.

“With news that funding in England will remain frozen for five years, we shouldn’t expect this to go away anytime soon.

“The strain is not only financial, but is also affecting individuals’ health and wellbeing,” Mr Waldron added. “We are therefore delighted that Pharmacist Support has agreed to work together to raise these issues with MPs.”

Pharmacist Support has been conducting its own survey of the pressures affecting pharmacists and will be sharing its key findings with MPs at the parliamentary event. The charity will also ask MPs to pledge support for local pharmacists during its #GoGreen campaign, which it will launch in September.

The charity’s chief executive Danielle Hunt said: “Pharmacist Support has seen demand for its services rocket in recent years. Last year, the charity provided 7,156 acts of support, an increase of 76% on three years ago.

“We are speaking with more pharmacists every day, who are facing a range of issues that are severely impacting their wellbeing. Our recent market research revealed that a staggering 97% of respondents said they needed some form of support from the charity, with 71% revealing that they felt poor mental health is a core challenge facing the pharmacy sector.

“We feel it is only right to raise awareness of the challenges individuals in the profession are facing,” she added. “It is our aspiration to work collaboratively with others to ensure that pharmacists are able to prioritise their own mental health and wellbeing and seek help from us to do so.”

Commenting on the event, Sir Kevin (pictured above) said: “Community pharmacists do an incredible job of delivering public health services, as well as serving a vital role in their communities.

“It’s therefore worrying that stress levels are rising, and with funding for England’s pharmacies frozen for another five years, there’s every reason to think this could increase further,” he added.

“I’m delighted to be supporting this event by C+D and Pharmacist Support, which should draw more attention to the many pressures facing pharmacists today.”

What is Pharmacist Support?

Pharmacist Support is the profession’s independent charity. It provides a range of free and confidential services to pharmacists and pharmacy students who find themselves facing challenging situations. Support includes: wellbeing workshops and a stress helpline; financial assistance and employment advice; addiction support; and information and guidance.

Further information can be found at pharmacistsupport.org, or by contacting [email protected] or 0808 168 2233.

20 Comments
Question: 
How stressed are you in your role?

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist

To the limit, it is killing us

Honest Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Will MP Kevan Jones be attending? He was very knowledgable when I saw him talk in parliament regarding pressure on pharmacists and the tragic death of Boots Pharmacist (Ms. Alison Stamps)... :(

 

Laura Buckley, Community pharmacist

Is this open for pharmacists to attend?

James Waldron, Editorial

Hi Laura,

If you would like to attend then please get in touch at [email protected]

Kind regards,

James Waldron, C+D Editor

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Thank you but this is not the job of a magazine!! Where is the PDA ,RPS!????

Independent Dave, Community pharmacist

Thank You C&D for taking initiative! PSNC, NPA, RPS and all the affiliated bodies, please take note.....group together and do something, please don’t wait for us to die out!! If you guys can group together to unite us, then the public WILL listen and back us if they know the truth. Without the public, politics does not care!!

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

of those bodies, only RPS is intended to "represent" Pharmacists rather than contractors... and the history of the RPS isnt exactly brimming with success on improving our working conditions. 

I suspect the background lobbying on reducing workforce costs and hence dispensing cost to the NHS  by the v large multiples will hugely outweigh any effect this meeting has. 

 

 

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

'the public WILL listen and back us if they know the truth. Without the public, politics does not care!!'

I totally disagree, the British public will pay lip service to the situation. Like their American cousins, they are vulgar consumers at heart. Whether it is the appalling conditions of Third World manufacturing or tax avoiding online giants, they choose the cheapest and most convenient option.

The government sees robotics as an elegant solution to both the consumer mentality and the austerity agenda. The high street and the people who work(ed) in it, are seen as an expensive anachronism. They, like the public, will pay lip service to our plight. We, as always, will be left to tell anecdotes of our importance to the 'community'.

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

I left community pharmacy because of the stress produced by the monsterous dispensing ans checking workload, expectation to do a million things at once, expecatation to offer a service to a patient at the drop of a hat, constant daily pressure from management to hit service targets, increase item volume, take on more care homes, mds and drug misusers. And I was expected to do all this while being understaffed in a cramped environment because 'pharmacy is going through difficult times' and there is no money. Patient safety just goes out the window and you end up just taking shortcuts just to make it to the end of the day. The regional managers dont care, they just want you to hit the targets so they can get there bonus and please the divisional managers, who then hit there bonus. There is a disparity of reality between the directors and shareholders at head office and the staff on the front line. Community pharmacy is a very lonely place to work for pharmacists in particular, because you dont have any other pharmacist colleagues to share the workload or troubles with, and you just plod along with the stress because you think that this is normal for all pharmacists to experience in all environments of pharmacy. This repeated stress resulted in myself experiencing anxiety issues and I had to take time off work. I did return to work but after a few months I realised the situation wasnt going to improve any time soon so I left the sector to start a job in another area of pharmacy. Since then my life has changed dramatically and my stress level has reduced significantly, I now have good support from other staff and management and a manageable workload where I am able to structure and organise my time a lot better. But I have not forgotten about my ex-community colleagues, it can be a bloody stressful job at times. I know a hell of a lot of community pharmacists looking for a way out of the job, looking to do something different, to retrain or move to a different sector/area of pharmacy- and that just sums up the current state of affairs. To anyone reading this who is struggling with stress or mental health issues in pharmacy then just remember that your health is the number one priority, you are not alone and dont be afraid to ask for help and support.

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist

I so agree with every single word of your statement. That is exactly how it is and getting worse. Funding cuts are just an excuse. Very lonely job indeed. But let me say inn retail business there is no response when you ask for help. We are irrelevant. Even professionals do not support their colleaguues. How low and sad can a profession be.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

I did the same just left pharmacy ,there is a life outside the pharmacy bubble best decision I made , money not everything. life moves pretty fast if you don't stop and look around once In a while you could miss it Ferris Bueller

 

 

ABC DEF, Primary care pharmacist

Can't agree more. I quit community and joined general practice. Best decision in my life ever. 

A B, Community pharmacist

Where do you work now?

Reeyah H, Community pharmacist

PSNC should never have signed a deal which makes a mockery out of us. To save the NHS crisis, we needed funding. 

ethyl bromide, Community pharmacist

Psnc work for the multiples and they are doing quite nicely tank you, despite their protestations profits may be a bit lower but they are still good. Cuts are just another excuse to push more work onto fewer staff and reduce even further the professional independence of Pharmacists.
I'm glad I'm getting out

Heather Pharm Tech, Allocation & Distribution

It's not just Pharmacists, although they get the brunt of it - Tech's are feeling it as well...

James Waldron, Editorial

Hi Heather,

That's a very good point. C+D is for the whole community pharmacy team, and I'll consider how we can draw attention to the pressures on pharmacy technicians, as well as pharmacists.

Kind regards,

James Waldron, C+D Editor

Heather Pharm Tech, Allocation & Distribution

Thank you! HP

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

Thank you for acting on our behalf, Though the sceptical side of me says that no one there will give a stuff despite any politically correct words they may utter. The proof of their sincerity will lie in actions and thats not likely!

Ranjeev Patel, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

They've never listened before, and I would bet my bottom dollar that they won't listen again this time - pharmacy is so far down the pecking order for an MP that you wouldn't believe. Or maybe they will pretend to listen and pay lip service, and then do precisely nothing about it. Nothing's going to change, and as someone else mentioned, why is a magazine editor going to parliament about this and not the GPhC/RPS/PDA/PSNC etc?

It would be humliating for the GPhC if Mr Waldron comes out having achieved something more useful than Rudkin has ever been able to. But then again, Duncan is only there to protect the public, right? Hilarious.

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