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Three in 10 pharmacy employees report lack of job security

Fears over job security are slightly higher at the big three multiples, the survey revealed

Employees responding to C+D's Salary Survey 2015 said they felt less secure in their positions than last year


Almost three in 10 pharmacy employees feel less secure in their jobs than they did a year ago, C+D has learned.

Of the 1,046 employees who responded to the C+D Salary Survey 2015, which is due to close tomorrow (November 11),said they rated their job security as worse than last year. This figure was slightly higher among the large multiples, with 35 per cent of employees at the Co-operative, Lloydspharmacy and Boots reporting the same concern.

One respondent said they had been offered redundancy and then re-employment on a "much lower" salary on the day their pharmacy was taken over by another business, while another admitted that the "oversupply of pharmacists" and American ownership of their employer had caused "some apprehension".

Seventy-five per cent of 48 contractors who responded to this year's survey said they had made cutbacks to their business over the last 12 months, with 30 per cent having reduced staff hours.

Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) chairman Mark Koziol told C+D it was "unsurprising" that so many pharmacists felt less secure in their jobs. The growing number of pharmacists meant many feared employers would take an "opportunistic" approach and try to reduce their employees' pay as a result, he said.

"The underlying cause of pharmacists now feeling less secure in their jobs is because the government has consistently failed to effectively harness the medicines expertise of pharmacists. If it could rise to the challenge, then it would go a long way in improving the job security of pharmacists," he argued.

Kate Westbrook, marketing manager at charity Pharmacist Support, agreed the oversupply of pharmacists had caused a rise in insecurity.

"Our specialist employment advisor [has seen] an increase in cases that relate to disciplinary action [or] termination by an employer. The most common reasons are not meeting increased MUR targets and pharmacists being disciplined for mistakes," she told C+D.

Last month, responses to the C+D Salary Survey 2015 showed seven out of 10 pharmacy employees were stressed at work.

Do you feel less secure in your job than a year ago?

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Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional


Seal Patel, Community pharmacist

No suprise, the goverment not helping the profession and the lack of direction will only decrease the pay. Can see the pay going to as low as £15-£16 in some cases this has already happened!!!

Pharmacy is fast coming to an end, just a matter of time until there are 2 pharmacists working at one place instead of a dispenser and pharmacist.

Get those £20+ hours in now because those days are fast coming to an end!!

[email protected], Pre-reg graduate

I suspect the trend of decreasing rates is more in areas with increasing number of Pharmacists, like London, Birmingham, etc, where they don't want to leave the comfort of their parental homes. Whereas there are still GOOD pharmacists who command a very good rate between £23-£25, not just because they are ready to travel, but also because they get the value for money to the pharmacies employing them. So, just blaming the numbers is stupid. We need to also look in to the quality of Pharmacists too.

Mariyam Giwa, Community pharmacist

£23 to £25 is NOT a very good rate! I was earning that TEN years ago. It is all about the numbers! Do you think the big blue one cares about the quality of the pharmacists they employ? I would love to hear from you in five years time. By then I will be retired but you will be facing forty years of hell.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Shouldn't increasing pharmacist numbers improve quality as less capable pharmacists fall by the wayside in theory improving the profitability of pharmacies? Nevertheless, hourly rates continue to decline. Quite obviously increasing pharmacist numbers and reducing NHS reimbursement are the key drivers to declining pharmacist salaries.

I would argue that it is 'stupid' to blame a declining quality of pharmacists considering current circumstances.

SP Ph, Community pharmacist

Sorry to poke my nose, but, how do you compare the number of pharmacists to quality of the Pharmacists??

Few markers -- 1. The expectations of the new schools for getting on to the course has dropped to just Cs in A levels. So do you expect a genius pharmacist to come out from a C level ??

2. The Big companies hiring Pharmacists are not bothered about the Pharmacist, as long as they are a Living Body that can sign in as a RP and slog it out for the hours they are contracted (in some instances not contracted) and ready to accept the level of pay (£15-£16)

3. Unless the language testing becomes more stricter, you will have those EU Pharmacists with most of the qualities from point 2 from above, and are even ready to work well below the rate for a dispenser/ technician.

So, if quality matters to a Pharmacy then they will pay the right amount and visa vis if a Pharmacist thinks he would be able to provide better value for money then he will charge and convince the employer accordingly.

Dave Nickels, Community pharmacist

And Clive, if you were a company like Amazon, Walmart etc, why would you not (in the future) look to do a deal with the government and offer huge hub dispensing for a fraction of the cost at the moment

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

I am sure they will already be planning for it.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

A bit of a surprise, considering 7 in 10 were stressed. If there was no fear of loss of job then why would anyone be stressed. So, I cannot agree only 3 out of the 7 stressed pharmacists are worried about job loss.

Lets agree to one point that, we all need secure jobs to sustain and the most important factor to worry is keeping the job safe. So I would have thought all 7 out of 10 were most worried about of losing their jobs, which made them to agree to do whatever the management told them to do, hence stressed.

Clive Hodgson, Community pharmacist

I am a little surprised at the figure of only 3 in 10 feeling less secure in their jobs.

The increasing pool of un/underemployed Pharmacists will provide a considerable number of individuals desperate enough to undercut those in employment. To some employers the best Pharmacist for the job will be the cheapest. I would expect to see a lot more tales of redundancy followed by offers to reemploy but only in competition with others and on inferior terms.

And, to add to this. The Daily Telegraph Business section today leads with article “Robots to take 10m jobs in next decade”. EPSr2 combined with hub ‘n’ spoke Amazon like dispensing factories?

Are those 7 in 10 still feeling secure?

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