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Why are 80% of GP pharmacists from a community background?

Sandra Gidley: Sector needs to ask why community pharmacists are leaving

The sector should question why a "significant majority" of pharmacists working in GP practices have come from community pharmacy, the RPS English pharmacy board chair has said.

"Nearly 80%" of the first wave of pharmacists recruited into GP surgeries come from community pharmacy, Sandra Gidley told C+D last month (February 27). 

“The community sector needs to ask itself why those pharmacists wanted a different job,” she said.

Ms Gidley suggested that poor working conditions at "some" companies could be a contributing factor to pharmacists looking for a change in career.

"Very large response" to recruitment drive

Ms Gidley said there has already been a "very large response" to pharmacy minister David Mowat's call to recruit a second wave of pharmacists into GP surgeries by 2021.

"We all thought they'd come from hospital [pharmacy]," she said. "But that hasn't been the case."

While "there are huge opportunities for community pharmacy", Ms Gidley said, "there's a serious question to be asked about why so many community pharmacists are seeing [GP pharmacy] as a really attractive job option". 

Ms Gidley spoke to C+D after the RPS organised a visit by David Mowat to a GP surgery in west London, where GPs told the pharmacy minister community pharmacists “could manage selected long-term conditions”.

Have you moved from community to practice pharmacy?

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

You don't need to ask 'why'. Just go and work in a busy pharmacy for a few days

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Community pharmacy is all stress and politics. You barely use your degree and I sometimes used to feel a shopkeeper. Although I'm taking a massive pay cut, I can honestly say I'm much happier in my role in GP practice. That's the reason they've seen a massive up take in community pharmacists!

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Are you really that out of touch Mrs Gidley? Community pharmacy is reeling from a brutal cut in funding and all employees in community pharmacy are fearing for their jobs. That is why so many community pharmacists are applying for GP pharmacist jobs.


Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Because ANYTHING is better than community!

A Hussain, Senior Management

Firstly, there are many more community pharmacists than there are hospital pharmacists.  Secondly, has Ms Gidley not understood that these are very uncertain times for community pharmacy and leaving it is becoming more attractive by the day? And thirdly, why would a hospital pharmacist leave a job where they are on a progressive career plan to join what is basically a pet project that will probably be in the bin within five years?

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

I think D Edwards is naive to think services are not a profit generator - pharmacy is a business, in the same way GP practices, Dental practices, Opticians etc etc are all businesses and any services provided MUST benefit patients but MUST ALSO reward the pharmacy, otherwise there is no point in doing them. After all, we all work to be rewarded (i.e. paid) by providing a service for someones benefit - this is no different.

I think the issue is when services are "provided" unneccesarily for the sole aim of getting the fee

D Edwards, Hospital pharmacist

Of course there needs to be remuneration as you are right, pharmacies are contractors. I agree that there could be some tweaking with the current services to make them even more beneficial for GPs and patients-access to the medical re cords is needed. However, we also provide a lot of other services like trays, deliveries and expert advice which are all free and part of the job. My point was around services needing to be there for patients rather than just used as tragets. I will do an MUR when I feel one is needed, rather than for the sake of it. I aim for the 400, but along the way, I make sure they are done properly and for those who would bebefit or where there is intervention.

D Edwards, Hospital pharmacist

Why do you think? There are at least 2 very large multiples who in my experience have pressurised and pushed to the point where I left.  Lack of staff, lack of support and micro management around targets are to blame. Well staffed pharmacies with well trained staff to support the pharmacist, will retain good pharmacists and be more efficient in care provision and results. Services are there for patients, not as a cash cow. Also, I have seen some jokers offering silly little sums of pay for managers. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys or you get a pharmacist looking to a more fulfilling career elsewhere. 

Andy Burrells, Community pharmacist

But how will that generate profits for shareholders? We're not here to care for people...

...Are we?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Only if the caring also generates a significant profit.

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