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COVID-19: Boots to pay provisionally registered pharmacists £36k

Pharmacists on the provisional register at Boots will receive a £36,600 annual salary
Pharmacists on the provisional register at Boots will receive a £36,600 annual salary

Boots has confirmed that provisionally registered pharmacists will receive the same salary as those who are newly qualified.

Pharmacists who provisionally join the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register to help with the sector’s COVID-19 effort and who work at Boots will receive the same salary as newly qualified pharmacists at the multiple, the PDA Union shared last week (June 4).

Boots told C+D yesterday (June 9) it is "pleased to confirm"  a "competitive salary that matches any newly qualified pharmacists" joining the multiple.

In January, the PDA Union announced it had negotiated a 7.6% pay rise for newly qualified Boots pharmacists, bringing their salary to £36,600 a year from February.

This will be followed by a further salary increase of 3.8% in August, the PDA Union and Boots announced.

In a policy paper published last month (May 21), the GPhC outlined that while provisionally registered pharmacists will not be permitted to work as locums, superintendent pharmacists or chief pharmacists, they may operate as the responsible pharmacist”.

PDA: We must avoid “race to the bottom” rates

Commenting on the salary confirmation, the PDA Union said it is “right” that provisionally registered pharmacists should “be paid no less than a newly qualified pharmacist would have been paid this year if the pandemic had not occurred”.

It is “important for the profession that these rates are upheld so that the professional contribution of any pharmacist is respected”, it added.

This is so that “any further ‘ race to the bottom’ on salary rates, similar to that regularly reported by locums, can be avoided” the union said.

What do you make of the agreement?

Shahan Mir, Community pharmacist

Great work from the PDA; fighting for a working wage but this seriously brimgs into question whether the exam is fit for purpose if it has been disregarded.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Probably no-one is reading this thread any more but I've just had a thought - what if one of these provisionally registered pharmacists goes on to fail the exam when it is finally held - will they have to repay what they've earned? (oops - just noticed someone else raised this exact point!)

Caroline Jones, Community pharmacist

Have I misunderstood? Provisionally registered - is this a pre reg Pharmacist that hasn’t done their GPhC exam? Whilst commendable they are getting paid a decent wage......what happens if they don’t pass their exam, so they then get a pay cut and/or dismissed? In the long term, would this not mean the GPhC exam is obsolete and makes the pre reg exam pointless? So I’m reality, if the university want to appear good - they pass anybody, then if you get a lazy pre-reg tutor they’ll just sign anyone off as competant? Presumably this year all the tutors are signing to say all the pre regs are competent - which we all know will never be the case?


Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

How anyone can live a full live these days on anything less than £50k pa is beyond me. I quit my £45k pa, 40 hour week, one weekend in two, salary for a better career. I've never looked back. I feel sorry for anyone stuck in that sector.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Typically you don't say what this new profession is. 

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist

It is a disgusting rate, Shame on them

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

If your happy working your whole life as an employee in a sector of pharmacy that shows very minimal progression in terms of salary or career progression- then community pharmacy is the sector for you. And there is nothing wrong with this. Some people are happy to plod along their whole lives and just accept there current job as a means to pay the bills, or they are trapped with mortagages, expensive cars and children to feed. I call it being stuck on the pharmster wheel. You don't know any different. You work your socks off everyday in a stressful job, only to line the pockets of the shareholders of your multiple and hit the service targets so your regional manager stays in his cushty job and gets his bonus. The truth is your regional manager doesnt give two hoots about your personal wellbeing and they are in their position to deliver the targets that have been set by the management above them, which have been set by the senior management with huge bonuses, which are dependent on business performance. It's a rat race. Community pharmacy has changed. If you are not happy you need to take action now to future-proof your job and sanity. It took me a while to realise this. The best thing I ever did was leaving my role as an community pharmacist employee. Yes, I needed to invest in my education and further my qualifications and experience, but it was worth it. 

As pharmacists become more autonomous and skilled practioners, and move into other sectors of healthcare and take on more responsibility- this will shift the balance of power away from large multiple pharmacys and back to the individual pharmacist. This will in turn allow wages to rise as demand increases for pharmacists, and the profits from big companies will have to trickle down to the pharmacists on the ground, otherwise they will leave as more opportunities become available to work in other sectors or independentenly.

I genuinely think things will go a full circle and days of community pharmacy mulitple monopoly will be over before long.

Yes 36k isnt bad for your first job out of uni when you compare it to your friends. But this is a trap and it will not get much better if you dont fight for it.

ABC DEF, Primary care pharmacist

''The best thing I ever did was leaving my role as an community pharmacist employee.''

Cannot, agree, more.

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

a* ...Sorry my post littered with spelling and grammar errors...

Glad you agree alphabetty

Reading my post back it was a bit gloomy in parts. But I think 36k is a decent start for a first job. But 36k after 5-10-15-20 years I don't think is decent. I think the future for young pharmacists is exciting and we should all be raising each other up as a profession and encouraging success, positivity and new ways of working. I think the days where a pharmacist could just pass their pre-reg exam and then expect undulated success and lifelong reward are over. If you want to progress you have to invest in yourself- because no other fudger will. You will read many negative comments on here from pharmacists who are too 'long in the tooth' or bitter or jealous when it comes to new ways of working, new career paths or new success stories from skilled and more modern pharmacists. Dont let it get to you. We should be inspiring each other. I guess the main point im tying to make on this article is that if you are a young community pharmacist employee and you already detest your job and think you are trapped  in a job you hate on 36k for the rest of your life- I assure you, you are not. I was once where you are. If you invest in yourself early on it will pay dividends for your career success and you will find yourself in a job you love rather than resent.

mark straughton, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Forgetting about the whole provisional aspect here....

£36k as a 20 something newly qualified isn't bad for them. Particularly compared to their other uni friends who probably earn around 20k-30k on a graduate scheme or whatever. What they don't see is that there's very little progression from this salary and in opportunities. Before long with huge inflation  rates imminent this will become the average wage in 10 years or so. This is the community pharmacist career.

I qualified 13 years ago and was offered 38k per year for a 40 hour week (with a large multiple). There can't be many other professions that have seen such a regression in salary. 

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

I can verify this as I was offered £38.5k in 2008 as a NQ. After ten years, I was only on £45k. I decided I couldn't live like this, so I changed the career and never looked back. Pharmacists in community don't realise how much they are exploited. They think it's all fun and games at the start, but they'll see the cold reality when it's too late.

Jenny Etches, Community pharmacist

I've just realised from this that as a pharmacist of 42 years, 13 years with Boots I'm paid £3 an hour less than the newly qualified pharmacists. How cr*p is that?

David Kent, Community pharmacist

What an insult to the most experienced pharmacists.  I sincerely hope no one accepts this Pittance.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Well done to the PDA - they must have some decent teeth nowadays. Are these provisionally registered pharmacists taking FULL responsibility though? My understanding was that they would have to operate under some sort of ongoing supervision which implies their responsibility is also less than a fully qualified pharmacist - I wouldn't be best pleased if I was a fully qualified newbie.

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