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Pharmacists increasingly relying on charity

People Demand for financial assistance from Pharmacist Support has risen by £31,000 since 2010. Charity manager Diane Leicester (pictured) blamed the increased cost of living and falling incomes.

Charity Pharmacist Support has been forced to dip into its reserve funds as demand for financial assistance from pharmacists has risen for the third year in a row.

The charity has provided almost £85,000 to pharmacists and their families in assistance so far this year, compared with a total of less than £80,000 in 2011 and £54,000 in 2010.

However, a drop in the number of donations from pharmacists meant that the charity had been forced to dip into its reserve funds to meet demand.

"Increased living costs and reduced incomes have also had an impact on families contacting the charity" Diane Leicester Pharmacist Support

More on financial pressures

Pharmacy's feeling the pinch

Half of pharmacists tighten belts as cost of living rises

Calls to charity rocket as financial worries mount

The hike in financial assistance followed a surge in the number of pharmacists and their families needing help, from 36 pharmacists with 62 dependents in 2010 to 47 pharmacists with 92 dependents in 2011. And the total for 2012 was expected to exceed this number, said charity manager Diane Leicester.

"Pharmacists' partners are being hit with redundancy and there are generally fewer jobs around. Increased living costs and reduced incomes have also had an impact on families contacting the charity," Ms Leicester told C+D.

"We have received a number of calls from lone parents too, where the parent is working (either full or part-time) but find that their income is not sufficient enough to prevent them from falling into arrears with their rent or mortgage," she said.

The charity also offered funding through grants for respite care for a family member, for counselling and therapies or for contributions towards nursing or residential fees.

However, its financial assistance to widows and widowers fell this year to just under £30,000 provided to 20 people from more than £47,000 given to 34 people in 2010.

Last month, the C+D Salary Survey 2012 revealed that more than half of employee pharmacists had been forced to extend credit arrangements and cut down on their spending over the past year because of financial pressures.

Have you received assistance from Pharmacist Support?

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Kate Westbrook, Marketing

Re: the figures given above - The charity provided a total of £210,000 (in grants and interest free loans) to pharmacists and their families, former pharmacists and pharmacy students in need in 2011. The figures provided in the article above relate only to the amount of financial assistance provided to pharmacists with dependents.

You can read more about the work the charity in 2011 in our Annual Review - available via our website at

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Pharmacist Support continues to do great work on behalf of the profession which needs to be highly commended. Unfortunately donation have probably fallen due to an overall lack of general disposable income among donors. Sad set of events and a paucity of solutions.

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