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Half of locum pharmacists found it harder to secure work in 2017

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London is the hardest place to secure a locum shift, according to the C+D Salary Survey 2017
London is the hardest place to secure a locum shift, according to the C+D Salary Survey 2017

Half of locum pharmacists found it more difficult to secure work in community pharmacies over the past year, C+D's Salary Survey 2017 has revealed.

Of the 246 locum pharmacists from across the UK who responded to the question on the survey – which ran throughout October – 48% said it had become “a little” or “a lot” harder to find work over the previous 12 months.

In comparison, 44% said the difficulty level “was about the same”, while 8% said it had become easier.

London appeared to be the hardest place to secure a shift, with 59% of respondents from the capital reporting it had become more difficult between October 2016 and October 2017.

Northern Ireland was the only part in the UK where the majority of respondents told C+D it had become less of a struggle to find work. No locums in the country said it had become harder, while over 70% found it “a little” or “a lot” easier than the previous year – despite the same proportion saying they were dissatisfied with their rate.

View C+D's locum rate map below to see how the search for locum shifts has changed in each region of the UK.

Demand “still there” – in some areas

Miraj Patel, chief executive of locum agency My Locum Choice, said he “wouldn’t be surprised if people are finding it harder to get work” in some parts of the UK.

But he insisted “there is still work out there” – and added his company has just experienced its “best year”.

“We did more [business] than last year. Locums that are flexible have located outside of saturated areas...where the demand is still there.”

Thorrun Govind, a locum pharmacist in Lancashire, said the difficulty in finding work may be a “sign of the times” – with contractors “more likely to keep a regular locum...because they need that continuity of business”.

Tohidul Islam, founder of locum network The Locum Pharmacist Cooperative, said he has had “regular work” over the past 12 months – but has noticed “the amount of work...has gone down”.

Mr Islam blamed the shortage of shifts on pharmacy owners being forced to work more hours, and multiples hiring more relief pharmacists.

Twitter reacts to C+D's locum findings

C+D exclusively revealed yesterday that the average locum rate across the UK rose for the first time in 2017 – by 34p – after a decade-long drop. Here is how readers reacted on Twitter:

Read how the average UK locum rate rose for the first time in a decade here, and read C+D clinical editor Kristoffer Stewart's view on why the rate changed here.

The C+D Salary Survey 2017 – which ran throughout October – was completed by a total of 1,754 pharmacists and pharmacy staff. C+D's ongoing coverage from the survey can be found here.

Search through hundreds of pharmacist roles on the C+D Jobs website

11 Comments
Question: 
Have your locum rates increased or decreased in the last year?

Atif Bashir, Community pharmacist

Tohidul is doing a fantastic job helping locums secure work at decent, worthy and valued rates.

Sunny Jim, Pharmacy Buyer

*He will remove you from the group if u don’t agree with him

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

R A, Community pharmacist

Honestly, when articles like these are published I wonder if this profession suffered some severe brain drain? Its been like this since 2010, why is all this suddenly news?

 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

More typically lazy work by C&D to fill their pages. 

Atif Bashir, Community pharmacist

Not really a constructive comment.  Wasting readers time.  All publishers have the right to write what they like.  What is your proper name?

M Yang, Community pharmacist

Mr Islam blamed the shortage of shifts on pharmacy owners being forced to work more hours, and multiples hiring more relief pharmacists.

I can see pharmacy owners becoming burned out, 40 hours a week is plenty and includes not only day to day RP duties but also Superintendent responsibilities, pay roll, staff holidays, managing premises and so on. The locum is there to provide a much needed rest. The relief pharmacist situation at the mutliples goes around and comes around. Boots, for example, is famous for its its treatment of employees, so relief pharmacists leave as quickly as they're recruited. It still astounds me that I lasted 3 whole years.

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I agree with one of the twitter comments. Many pharmacy owners who used to partially cover opening hours with locums are now doing the sessions themselves. So I'm afraid 2018 will be even worse for locum work. This is 100% due to the pharmacy cuts. 

Sunny Jim, Pharmacy Buyer

Don’t think agencies are on the side of locums...their job is to find the cheapest Locum....AVOID them at all costs 

Sunny Jim, Pharmacy Buyer

Just to let ppl know, if anyone disagrees with Mr Islam views on his forum, he will automatically remove you.*

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Not to dissimilar to this forum then if you don't follow the 'multiples are good' agenda.

DM X, Locum pharmacist

Yes, it's not really a forum is it? It's more a personal fiefdom of which he's an oligarch

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