Almost three quarters of pharmacists and pharmacy staff are now suffering from stress, the C+D Salary Survey 2015 has found.
Initial figures from this year's survey, which is still open, reveal that 72 per cent of 267 employee respondants said they had suffered from work-related stress in the past 12 months. Previous C+D Salary Surveys have shown a steady rise in the proportion of stressed pharmacy employees, from 61 per cent in 2011 to 70 per cent last year.
Pharmacists who have completed the current survey emphasised the stress they endure on a daily basis, with one respondent admitting they had considered swapping pharmacy for a minimum-wage job to "avoid stress caused by inadequate support staff". Others said they felt "stressed nearly every day" and that "staff are being squeezed for more and do not receive anything in return".
Pharmacy Voice told C+D that IT issues, which are "often outside of [pharmacists'] control" were one cause of stress. The lobbying group also highlighted medicines shortages and a need to adapt to new NHS commissioning structures as other sources of workplace pressure.
Raj Jain, pharmacist at WR Evans (Chemist) Ltd t/a Manor Pharmacy in Burton-on-Trent, explained that competition between local pharmacies could be a "big factor" towards stress, along with increased dispensing volume and a pressure to meet targets.
Mr Jain suggested talking to other members of staff as one technique to minimise workplace stress."There aren't many support networks in pharmacy that you can turn too," he added. "We as a company have our own helpline." [There is also Pharmacist Support's Listening Friends helpline; 0808 168 5133 - Ed.]
Amanda Smith, manager of Heath Pharmacy in Halifax, said stress was "definitely going up" due to the additional services pharmacists were being commissioned to deliver."We need to delegate [these] services but the [commissioning] specifications say we're not allowed to do that. We are torn in several different directions."
Have your say about workplace pressures in this year's Salary Survey.