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Half of pharmacists tighten belts as cost of living rises

Business The rising cost of living and financial pressures have forced more than half of employee pharmacists to extend credit arrangements and cut spending – as some moved in with parents, one pharmacist gave up meat in an effort to save money.

More than half of employee pharmacists have been forced to extend credit arrangements and cut down on their spending over the past year because of financial pressures, the C+D Salary Survey 2012 has found.

Almost a fifth of community pharmacy branch managers and non-manager pharmacists had to extend overdraft facilities in the previous 12 months, and 52 per cent said they had to make some other form of financial adjustment.

More than one in 10 employee pharmacists extended their overdraft in the past year, with an additional 5 per cent opening one for the first time.

One pharmacist even gave up meat in an effort to cut costs

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One in three said they had cut back on holidays, with 12 per cent forced to take out or extend a loan, according to the survey.

Some of the 800 pharmacists said they had been forced to locum on their days off or even move back in with their parents to save some cash. One pharmacist gave up meat in an effort to cut costs.

C+D's latest salary survey, conducted in April and May this year, received nearly 2,000 responses from pharmacist employees, contractors, locums and pharmacy staff who were asked about their pay, job satisfaction and workload.

The rising cost of living also seemed to be a concern, the survey revealed, with one pharmacist reporting that they "had to budget more due to increased cost of food and energy bills". Another described a "general tightening of belts in line with increasing living costs".

Charity Pharmacist Support said that 35 per cent of the enquiries it received last year related to financial issues, and included pharmacists "in work, but nevertheless struggling to manage financially".

"In some cases people have told us that they have resorted to selling personal items (jewellery, clothing and furniture) to boost income in the short term," Pharmacist Support information officer Paulette Storey said. "For some, their financial difficulties started when they were a student or pre-reg and they've never really been able to get on top of their finances."

"My advice would be; don't ignore it and hope it will go away – it won't. Seek advice, the sooner the better. It can be managed and there are people to help you with this," she told C+D.

More results of C+D's Salary survey 2012 will be revealed online and in the October 27 and November 3 editions of C+D.

For more results, comment and news from the Salary Survey 2012 as well as tools including a salary calculator, wheel of blame, interactive map and employed/locum comparison calculator and much more click here

What have you done to combat financial pressures in your pharmacy?

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Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Certainly is difficult times for many and salaries have been static since about the last 7 to 10 years. And inflation has consumed any minimal rise which add extra pressure on individuals and families...

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