A new survey has revealed that 80 per cent pharmacists are at high or very high risk of burnout because of exhaustion, with over half of them thinking of a career switch.

The survey conducted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and Pharmacist Support details the shocking impact of workplace pressures on pharmacists’ mental health.

Nearly three-quarters of the pharmacists said their training or working life has had an impact on their mental health and wellbeing at some point.

More worryingly, some 44 per cent are concerned about potentially making mistakes or providing poor quality service to their patients.

“It’s incredibly tough in frontline practice right now. Demands are increasing and resources are scarce. This is not specific to one sector but impacts pharmacists wherever they work,” said Sandra Gidley, RPS President.

Gidley repeated the organisation’s call for equal access to an NHS-funded support service for all pharmacists. At present, only the pharmacists employed directly by the NHS get access to help.

“The Government must address this as a matter of urgency. The NHS is at risk of creating workforce inequalities by providing support service for some staff and not others,” she said.

Responding to the survey, one in five pharmacists each quoted lack of support staff and unrealistic expectations from their manager or organisation as the key reason for workplace pressures.

Commenting on the research results, Danielle Hunt, Pharmacists Support Chief Executive said the charity will work with RPS to find more ways to provide funded support.

“At Pharmacist Support, we hear from people every day struggling to deal with the pressures faced at work, so sadly we are not surprised by the statistics around stress and burnout revealed through this survey. Unfortunately for some, by the time they reach out for help, they have already reached crisis point,” Hunt said.

RPS and Pharmacists Support said the organisations will use the evidence to campaign for NHS-funded wellbeing support for all pharmacists.

The organisations will also publish a more detailed analysis in Spring 2020 to inform a roundtable with the NHS, government, employers and others to identify solutions.

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