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More than half of pharmacists working in England are considering changing their roles over the next 12-18 months because of work-related issues, a recent survey by The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) revealed.

The survey which concluded on February 18, 2022 had more than 2,500 participants including employed and locum pharmacists from all four UK nations.

In the survey, PDA asked respondents about their current roles and future career plans.

The initial feedback showed that unsatisfactory pay and working environments, lack of professional fulfilment, and poor management were the key factors for pharmacy professionals to reconsider their current positions.

Response from those working in pharmacies owned by the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) members showed that 54 per cent of them are looking for a change in the next 12 to 18 months, 17 per cent want to become locums and 23 per cent wish to work in another sector. Around 11 per cent of the lot are planning to retire, while a shocking 27 per cent intend to leave pharmacy altogether.

Around 56 per cent of the total respondents said they have stopped working part-time and of these 74 per cent would not consider a full-time position in future.

A majority of the respondents also stated they do not believe that there is a shortage of pharmacists.

Mark Koziol, chairman, PDA

PDA chairman, Mark Koziol said: “Many pharmacists who work for CCA members have made clear that job dissatisfaction, substandard pay and in particular work environments have a strong bearing on their propensity to stay in their current post.

“What many pharmacists seek is professional fulfilment, safer working environments, career development, and more sociable working hours.

“63% of respondents to our survey said that they do not believe that there is a shortage of pharmacists in the UK, a view that is supported by data from various government bodies. The survey results appear to debunk the idea that a shortage of pharmacists is causing an increase in the CCA members’ vacancy rates.”

He added that the combined outcome of this survey and that of the 2021 Safer Pharmacies Survey, “paint a disappointing and alarming picture for pharmacists.”

“The PDA believes this should be particularly concerning for CCA members. Something urgently needs to be done about improving the working conditions of pharmacists, to protect their health and wellbeing and improve recruitment and retention.”

The fact that many pharmacists are considering leaving the profession indicates an enormous human and societal investment is being squandered, he added.

Further, the PDA urged CCA representatives to place the responsibility for these problems on employers.

Koziol added that employers should “face up to their responsibility for the working environments experienced by their pharmacists and put in place the repairs that are long overdue.”

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