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GPhC survey: 46% on temporary register unsure about return to pharmacy

Over a fifth of respondents to the GPhC survey said they would not be returning to pharmacy
Over a fifth of respondents to the GPhC survey said they would not be returning to pharmacy

Almost half of temporarily registered pharmacy professionals responding to a recent GPhC survey are undecided about going back to work in the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the temporarily registered pharmacy professionals who responded to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) survey, 46% (582) said they were “not sure yet” if they would return to work during the pandemic. Just over a fifth, 23% (287), said they would not be going back to work in the sector.

The GPhC sent the survey to 6,123 of the “fit, proper and suitably experienced” pharmacists and pharmacy technicians added to the temporary register since March 27 to bolster the sector’s workforce during the COVID-19 outbreak. The regulator received responses from 1,255 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians based in Britain.

Speaking about the survey during a community pharmacy webinar last week (May 7), GPhC CEO Duncan Rudkin said the regulator is aware that “a very significant proportion of [registrants] are still considering whether to return”.

“Many have, and that’s great. They haven’t all gone through the national signposting process – many of them are working in community pharmacy, having joined up with employers”, he added.

The GPhC register shows that “there is still capacity in that temporary workforce and the names of those temporary registrants are available on the GPhC website”, Mr Rudkin said.

The survey also found that 31% (386) respondents had either already returned to work or were planning to do so.

Community pharmacy

A total of 109 registered pharmacists had already started working by the time the GPhC published the findings of its survey on April 23. Of these, 61% (66) were working in community pharmacy.

Similarly, 68% (63) of the 93 pharmacy technicians who had already returned to work were helping in a community pharmacy setting.

More than a third, 38% (157), of pharmacists who were undecided on working during the pandemic said the environment they would work in was community pharmacy, with 24% (42) of pharmacy technicians stating the same

Some of the pharmacists who were hesitant to return to work “mentioned that they or family members are in at-risk groups, meaning non-contact work was essential”, according to the GPhC’s findings.

Are you on the GPhC temporary register?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

They should run the same poll for Pharmacists who are not temporarily registered. They may get a shock cos I'm certainly leaving once the economy gets back moving after covid.

Arvind Sami, Locum pharmacist

Did they neglect to mention a +/-30% error?

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

People retire for different reasons - It's not enjoyable anymore; it is harming your health; you have enough money to stop doing it; (Dying could be considered a fourth) - Why would anyone come back to any job given those conditions, and then you look at how pharmacy is treated, by public & paymaster, and you wonder why? Personally, clock is ticking until I can pack it all in and wave pharmacy a not-tearful-at-all farewell

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

With you all the way matey! Once Covid is over I'm off to B and Q hopefully. LOTS more fun than pharmacy and chance of career progression even at my age. It's strange that a DIY store recognises life experience whereas a healthcare profession doesn't.

Will the wave to pharmacy only have two fingers in it? Mine will!

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

B&Q?! As a manager? That's an interesting change of work.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Don't care what it is. I'm sick to the back teeth of management anyway. It would be nice to have someone else to pass the buck to rather than it ending with me. Frankly, I'd be perfectly happy volunteering in a wildlife rescue centre but sadly that wouldn't pay the bills and my pension is total siht (anag.) so I can't do that.

R A, Community pharmacist


1. Catch Coronavirus

2. Work in a very stressful environment

3. Risk making a dispensing error and be chased by GPhC

4. Can't negotiate a fair rate



Am I missing anything on the Pro section?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Three little letters - an F, an A and an S, not necessarily in that order.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

How much money to risk your life ?

locums locumen, Community pharmacist

Stockholm Syndrome - 30%! Who are these people?

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

If you do a "hatchet job" on community locums you cannot be surprised when they decide to stay at home!  Described as money grabbing in addition to all of the usual flack!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It's really shown the weaknesses in the pharmacy model to protect staff from abuse, neglect, and an industry-wide disinterest to develop pharmacy further on governmental levels.

People are realising there are different things out there, much more appealing.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Never a truer word written, Leon.

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

Tbf it's not just pharmacy. Who would want to do any public sector job where your health is at risk. I wouldn't advise anyone to go into the health profession.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

So 30% said yes.... i'm surprised its that high.

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

Agree. I have to be on the register for my role in Industry, and even I wouldn't step in a pharmacy now.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Can I be the first to say you are a jammy git! I'm sure you'll take that in the spirit it was intended because I'm jealous

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

Lol. I don't take offence. I'd like to thing I worked hard to get this job. Almost certainly because of good karma after taking abuse from customers and employers and regulators for 13 years. But certainly I am very lucky to be in this job.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Sometimes the breaks go your way! Well done anyway, and I genuinely mean that.

I was never academic enough to get into industry anyway - I found pharm chem quite difficult so it was 30 years of purgatory and counting for me!

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

Medical Affairs is pseduo clinical-commercial. I spend my day medically signing off and reviewing materials like advertising, or appraising trials and guidelines. I have acquired more clinical knowledge working in industry than I did as a community pharmacist. Sadly I was taught at Uni that industry is just research and making pills. It's so much more than that and I wish I knew earlier.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

It actually sounds fascinating!

Frankly, you don't need a huge degree of clinical knowledge in community. If this thread wasn't so old, I'd probably get shot down in flames, but I've basically forgotten most of what I learned for the degree, but I have learned how to handle people and I still have the BNF for the difficult questions about drugs and stupid things like that.

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