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In their own words: locums on pressures and patient care


Respondents to the C+D Salary Survey 2016 shared their worries about the impact of dramatically falling pay rates.

Earlier this year, C+D revealed exclusive data from our Salary Survey 2016, which found that average locum rates crashed from £24 an hour in 2008 to £20.50/hr in 2015.

Our latest analysis has found widespread concern among locum pharmacists about the falling pay rates, with many sharing their worries with C+D.

Here’s a selection of comments from the 227 locums who took part in the Salary Survey, which ran between October-December 2015.

What was it like to be a locum in 2015?

Impact on health

“[I suffer from] decreased confidence and self-esteem, despite a lot of experience.”

Fear of missing out on work

“[I was] forced to stay at home and learn doses in order to speed up my service, [and not allowed] to sign up to locum websites until I knew counselling points or warnings off by heart.”

“I can’t tell [management] about [these issues] as I would lose the work I get. I only get £17 [per hour].”

“[I] never have a proper lunch, as I am required to catch up on work.”

“I don’t like saying ‘no’ to shifts, as you don’t know what other bookings you’ll get.”

Patient care at risk?

“Having to do so many different things at the same time [means] the time spent with customers is reduced. They don’t get the time and quality of service they should.”

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Standards in patient care have deteriorated over the last five years due to multiples putting profit before patients.”

Increasing pressure

“Pressure to achieve targets. Stress due to lack of staff, increased workload, and demands from both management and customers.”

“[I am] refusing to do medicines use reviews, following improper pressure from [my] manager.”

Not what it used to be...but by far my preferred option

“Pharmacy is not what it used to be – disillusioned is a fair description [of how I feel]. [But] being a locum is by far my preferred choice of work. I would hate to be a manager under pressure.”

Read the full analysis here – and hear from an agency CEO who told C+D that pharmacy owners are looking to cut locum rates further. 

The C+D Salary Survey will be returning in 2017.

What can be done to improve the plight of locums?

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Nothing will happen. Locum opinions are rated just below worthless by contractors/multiples.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Sad indeed, but there seem to be hardly any patient harm being reported (or not reported) Which means, despite all these pressures the Pharmacists are still doing well at their jobs.

Super Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

DOH should be just as accountable as multiples, supermarkets & other employer owners for eating away at the global sum whilst increasing workload relentlessly at the same time. Too many pharmacies & certainly too many pharmacists is a recipe for looming disaster (for individual pharmacists at least, anyway).

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

This applies to all employee pharmacists, not just locums.

P M, Community pharmacist

this is so sad  :(

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Your comment seems sarcastic. I suspect you're a contractor secretly enjoying this.

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