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Community pharmacy

Half of community pharmacists report low morale

Survey of nearly 2,000 members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society shows 71% of community pharmacists would not recommend working in the sector to others.

Queue in community pharmacy

Source: Mike Ford / Alamy Stock Photo

The survey also found that 76% of community pharmacists reported a lack of staff as a barrier to doing their jobs effectively

Community pharmacists have the lowest level of morale among the pharmacy profession, results from The Pharmaceutical Journal’s ‘2019 Salary and satisfaction survey’ have revealed.

The survey showed that half of community pharmacists reported either low or very low morale and more than three quarters of community pharmacists would not recommend working in their sector of practice to others — a five percentage point increase from 2018.

The survey of almost 1,814 Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) members, conducted between 6 May 2019 to 10 June 2019, found that 49% of community pharmacists reported ‘low’ or ‘very low’ morale. This compared with 33% of pharmacists working in the hospital sector, 10% of primary care pharmacists, 20% of academic pharmacists and 6% of those working in industry.

Three quarters (77%) of community pharmacists would not recommend working in community pharmacy to others, the survey revealed. In comparison, just 21% of hospital pharmacists would not recommend their sector to others.

The survey also found that 72% of community pharmacists have considered leaving the profession in the past 12 months, with 76% of community pharmacists reporting a lack of staff as a barrier to doing their jobs effectively.

Commenting on the findings, Reena Barai, superintendent pharmacist at SG Barai Pharmacy in Sutton, Surrey, said she knew of some community pharmacists who have become “so ingrained in the supply function” that they have lost sight of feeling valued and respected, “hence morale [has dropped]”.

Bhavisha Patel, a part-time locum pharmacist and part-time pharmacist manager at Day Lewis Pharmacy in Holyport, Berkshire, said a shortage of staff and the expectation to deliver services was “overwhelming for pharmacists” and that it was “not safe practice”.

Mike Hewitson, pharmacy owner of Beaminster Pharmacy in Dorset, said community morale was not “just about money, it’s about recognition”.

“It all comes back to leadership — people don’t feel valued.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207103

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