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The deadline for the 2023 mandatory workforce survey closes in a week

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The survey aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the community pharmacy workforce

Pharmacy owners have less than a week to complete the mandatory 2023 Community Pharmacy Workforce Survey, which closes on Sunday, December 17.

The NHS Business Services Authority sent an email with a survey link to pharmacy owners on October 23, 2023. In certain cases, such as Company Chemists’ Association member companies and other multiple pharmacy groups, head offices will centrally complete the survey.

“If you’re unsure whether the survey will be completed centrally, please seek guidance from your head office,” Community Pharmacy England has said.

Since 2022, completing the annual NHS England community pharmacy workforce survey has been a Terms of Service requirement for pharmacy owners.

The survey, conducted by the North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS) on behalf of NHS England, includes questions about staff numbers and full-time equivalents (FTEs) for various roles, such as pharmacists, trainee pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, dispensing assistants, medicines counter assistants, and delivery drivers.

The survey also asks about any trainees in the pharmacy.

The data aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the community pharmacy workforce, identifying vacancies and regions that are particularly challenging to fill, CPE added.

This information will support decisions on how the community pharmacy workforce can contribute to clinical service expansion and ensure that education reforms benefit both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, enabling patients to receive more services from their community pharmacies.

Data from the 2023 survey, along with the principles used for data cleansing, will be available on Community Pharmacy Workforce Survey – data.gov.uk in 2024.

The 2022 Community Pharmacy Workforce Survey revealed a 6 per cent decrease in the community pharmacy workforce, with a notable drop of 2,411 full-time equivalent pharmacists from 2021 to 2022, settling at 17,844.

Employed pharmacists decreased by 16 per cent, from 12,774 in 2021 to 10,943 in 2022, while locum pharmacists increased by 26 per cent, rising from 4,297 in 2021 to 5,477 in 2022.

Despite these changes, the total headcount of community pharmacists remained ‘almost constant’ between 2021 and 2022, indicating a trend of pharmacists working fewer hours in a community setting.

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