Last week, a survey from the Community Pharmacy Workforce Development Group (CPWDG) – which brings together representatives from the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) – shed light on the struggles faced by employers with retaining pharmacy staff and unfilled positions.
As well as concerns about interest in joining the profession and long-standing vacancies, the group reported that “concerns about pay, excessive workload and pressure, inflexible working hours, and a lack of opportunities for career progression” were cited as reasons individuals were leaving the profession.
The group made a number of recommendations – including calling on leaders from across the sector to work with employers to “ensure community pharmacy is seen as an attractive career choice for future pharmacists”.
Commitment to improving working conditions
However, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) stressed that the report “fails to include a single commitment about what the employers will do”.
“Of the major factors mentioned, employers are mainly or exclusively in control of all of them, yet the report does not include a single mention of employers accepting that responsibility and committing to improve matters,” the PDA claimed in a statement last week (June 4).
“The PDA encourages community pharmacy employers to recognise the critical part that they play in shaping working environments,” it added.
It called on employers to commit to seven aspects of improving working conditions, including: providing “better rates of pay and conditions”; developing “professionally rewarding career pathways”; and delivering “safe staffing levels in every pharmacy and adequate rest breaks for all the team”.
In a statement to C+D today (June 7), Marc Donovan, chair of the CPWDG said: “Employers who strive to create a rewarding work environment, despite the pressures of a very challenging NHS contract, see many benefits. Our report is not principally about current pay and working conditions – it presents a long-term view taking in initial education and training, skills development and future roles and services.”
Mr Donovan added: “The PDA was invited to a roundtable discussion ahead of the launch of the report, but unfortunately they were unable to attend.”