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80% drop in EEA pharmacist registrations 'potentially' due to Brexit

GPhC: Drop could also be attributed to new English language requirements
GPhC: Drop could also be attributed to new English language requirements

An 82% fall in European pharmacists registering in Great Britain may have been caused by Brexit, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has speculated.

The number of European Economic Area (EEA) pharmacists registering in the UK dropped from 166 in April-June 2016, to just 30 in the same period this year, according to a report published for the GPhC's council meeting earlier this month (September 7).

The fall "potentially reflects the impact of Brexit and our new English language requirements", the GPhC said in its report.

The overall number of pharmacist registrations also experienced a drop – of 61% – between April-June 2016 and the same period last year, according to figures in the GPhC report.

In an exclusive interview with C+D last week (September 11), GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said the regulator is “not concerned” about the European figures, as “it's not for us to be worried or pleased” about the number of EEA registrations.

The GPhC does not have a role in “workforce planning”, he explained.

The drop “could be” due to Brexit, he continued, but the GPhC has not researched the issue. The regulator “might” look into it, but understanding the cause is “not necessarily a high priority”.

There could be a “whole range of factors” at play in this “very complicated” issue, he said, including employment prospects in Great Britain, as well as events in EEA pharmacists' home countries.

The GPhC's new English language requirements came into force in December last year. They require pharmacy professionals who qualified in EEA countries to provide evidence they have the “requisite English skills to practise safely in Great Britain”.

20 Comments
Question: 
What do you think caused the drop in EEA pharmacist registrations?

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Or it could just be down to the fact that the message of how rubbish a job it is in the UK is beginning to sink in?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Wow! Guess it is too late now to do a pharmacy course in Romania?

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Great news! All we need now is better control of entry to MPharm courses in line with workforce planning, plus a skilled migration system similar to Australia, plus more jobs and post-grad training available for pharmacists outside ticking boxes in a shed...and the futures looking bright.

Pharmacy is changing. Pharmacist role is changing. A lot of the older generation pharmacists who did the old 3year degree with limited clinical training and the hopes of owning there own pharmacy/business cannot accept the evolving role of pharmacists and the pharmacy skills/services model. The newer pharmacists who have had good clinical training with MPharm, post grad training etc I find are more willing to embrace changes like tech supervision, hub and spoke, IP and postgrad training. Bad times for mass dispensing target-driven contractors/owners and good times for the individual pharmacists who are willing to expand their skills, autonomy and roles within a modern day, tech savvy world.

I love Europe by the way! For me this is good news from a supply/demand jobs point of view.

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Nothing wrong with pharmacists running/owning pharmacies. If they did we wouldn't have all these companies driving standards down

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Ronald Dump, please live with the knowledge that the 'older pharmacists' managed to carve quite a good life out of pharmacy before the era of the never-say-no university entry requirements. It is the later mass entrants to the profession who want solice in the fact that they failed medical school entry and decide to play second-class clinician who dragged pharmacists wages down, not realising a MB.BS from Romania is cheaper than a 4 year pharmacy course in the UK.

And what is this 'clinical content' you mentioned? The older pharmacists made a living out of supplying drugs which paid for our life-style. Now, we all have consultation rooms in which we can play doctor and fool people into talking to us unnecessarily about their drugs (MURs, NMS) and think pharmacists should be paid more, and then there are those practice pharmacists who 'pride' themselves as the pinnicle of pharmacy with miniscule salaries! Be real.

I know which model of pharmacist is better, do you? If you love Europe, I am sure you will have a promising future there.

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Hi Jonny,

Clinical content in a modern day MPharm is much more comprehensive than the old 3year. In brief, it contains things such as physical examination, prescribing skills, management of long term deseases, advanced clinical knowledge, use of simulated patients and more patient focused treatments and clinical placements. Im assuming you did the 3 year Bsc decades ago? I see the future pharmacist as an expert in medicines who is able to specialise in a certain area and prescribe and work autonomously. I see techs (upskilled) with the accuracy checking, supply and supervision. Dont be afraid of change Jonny! I predict in 10 years it will be an integrated 5 year degree course with even more focus on clinical skills. Look at the plan for Scotland for example in terms of prescribing and Mpharm development. Its really makes me laugh how archaeic and retrospective some peoples views are on here. The future is bright for pharmacists in the UK but you have to be willing to adapt and do further training if needs be.

Regards,

Ron

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Ron, you see a lot of things, but how do you see pharmacists wages? The difference between people like you and real doctors are 1. Doctors didn't fail medical school entrance, 2. Doctors get paid properly for their clinical content work, 3. Doctors have patients who are registered with them, 4. Doctors get paid a lot more and they now employ pharmacists. While you get excited about looking into someone's ear hole for next to nothing, I am making a living and providing for my family. I wrote in the C&D many years ago about the lack of payments for clinical work, but people like you flock to becoming a fake doctor for nothing. 

Trust me, if clinical content pays I won't be doing what I'm doing and I'd be enrolling in these clinical courses. At a time when practice pharmacists are offered less that £40k, and Boots starting salary is less than £30k, I am afraid I don't see this as progress. Come back and offer your opinion when your beloved clinical content becomes cost effective, until then please don't think the older pharmacists are stupid, we didn't have accept-everyone-universities and easy-to-pass exams in our days, nor do we need a master's degree for ego. In any case, your attitude and mental capacity is typical of many newly registered pharmacists I came across of late. Damn, only if you guys can command a higher salary!

I still say you are in the wrong job, if only (before you did pharmacy) your numeric skills would let you work out that going to Romania to do a medical degree is cheaper.

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Well said! The profession is being ruined by wannabe doctors who look down on it.

sanjai sankar, Locum pharmacist

What do you mean the older pharmacists can't accept the evolving role of Pharmacists? Or that the older degree course had less clinical content? Does that make the older generation less able?...Please don't generalise indiscriminately on a public platform....

Ronald Trump, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Hi Sanjai,

From talking to colleagues, it seems that alot of community pharmacists who qualified with the old bsc 3year decades ago have a different view to where pharmacy is going to the more newly qualified MPharm cohort. The amount of times I hear...'Im so glad im near the end of my career!' or 'I wouldnt recommend pharmacy as a career now'..is quite frankly, depressing. I mean you cant really blame people nearing the end of there career for not wanting to change or do extra training etc as they probably think its not worth the effort for them. Ofcourse I dont think that being older makes you more or less able, but I do think if you studied the old 3 year course you are perhaps behind the more recently qualified Mpharm cohort in terms of clinical skills, desease management, prescribing skills etc There are a lot of community pharmacists who qualified years ago who have coasted through their 'careers' with no real advanced clinical development. They just check, do unnecessary box ticking services and manage.

Regards,

Ron

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

There are plenty of Mpharm cohort who do box ticking services which is quite frankly depressing. For them. Pharmacists are a product of the time and back then we could manage superb oral NMS and MUR through regular contact and interaction with patients. There are plenty of courses to update and refresh. I am one of many from the olden days taking advantage.

A future integrated course and more clinical content is the way forward but alas the DOH will not support everyone working in community when techs will supervise.

When you have debt of 40k you have to believe the future is bright and orange, because if you don't, a harsh reality will set in. A significant number in the coming years, will practice on simulated patient dummies at Madame Tussauds because they will be unemployed.

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Hahaha, this guy Ronald the Donald is clearly deluded, but probably loved by companies like Boots. The size of his ego may not be big enough to compensate for what is missing. Typical of those newly qualifieds who thinks they know everything about pharmacy. 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Great except the old duffers at GPhC will have to hike your subscription fees to maintain theur lovely salaries and pensions. Yes the future is ever so bright. Oh and did they mention your salary will continue to fall until the robots take over your job.

Graham Morris, Design

Well I would have thought a reduction in the pharmacy workforce would have a positive effect. Pharmacists may well be better treated if there were fewer available to employ. Basic supply and demand at work.

R A, Community pharmacist

Translation loss of registration fees for the GPhC which means the remaining individuals have to make up the difference to fund the gold-plated pensions and perks of GPhC.  

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Perhaps their buddies at the multiples could help them out? They seem to get on like a house on fire.

Cod Fillet, Community pharmacist

Maybe the devaluation of Pound against Euro had a big impact as well. Nobody moves country to earn a poor wage.

Dave Downham, Manager

"Potentially" ??? What planet are they on?

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

The GPhC does not have a role in “workforce planning”, he explained - Seriously?! So, why is the GPhC involved in technician accreditation and supervision. I still cannot get over the bare-faced lies being spouted about. C&D - any way of getting some insight into these double-standard statements that are coming out of the GPhC??

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

That requires uncomfortable questions being posed so NO, I doubt C&D will be able.

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