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‘Community pharmacies facing consequences of mounting NHS workforce crisis’

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The consequences of NHS workforce crisis is not limited to general practice, community pharmacies are also suffering, commented Community Pharmacy England after the General Medical Council (GMC) published a report on Friday (23 June) which warned of the burnout in the workforce.

The report calls for urgent actions to break a ‘vicious cycle’ of unmanageable workloads, dissatisfaction and burnout that is causing UK doctors to take steps to quit.

Chief Executive Janet Morrison, said: “The GMC’s report is yet another clear signal of the scale of the mounting the NHS workforce crisis, and this is not limited to general practice: community pharmacies are also suffering the consequences of it.”

“Pharmacy teams are overstretched, feeling immense pressures, and dealing with significantly increased workloads. Pharmacy owners are also finding it impossible to make ends meet, not least given the rising staffing costs which are being driven up by workforce issues.

Findings show the number of doctors who reported working beyond their rostered hours on a weekly basis rose from 59% in 2021 to 70% in 2022, and 42% said they felt unable to cope with their workload each week (up from 30% in 2021). Just half said they were satisfied in their work, down from 70% in 2021.

Morrison said: “Pharmacies are feeling the knock-on effect from the crisis as more people than ever are turning to pharmacies for help as they struggle to access General Practice.”

The workforce issues are urgent. We need to avoid catastrophe, safeguard the wellbeing of people working in primary care and ultimately protect patient safety. The upcoming NHS workforce plan must start to address this issue and come alongside an end to the recruitment of pharmacists into the ARRS scheme.”

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