Charity takes pharmacy pressures to parliament
Today Pharmacist Support – the profession’s independent charity – took its market research findings, highlighting the pressures impacting pharmacist’s wellbeing, to parliament for a joint event with Chemist and Druggist.
The research, conducted in May 2019, was carried out to support the development of the charity’s new five-year strategy. It included a series of in-depth, one-hour interviews and an online survey. Nearly 500 individuals responded to the online survey from a representative sample across all areas of pharmacy as well as from students, pre-registration trainees and retired pharmacists. The results revealed some concerning findings that the charity felt needed to be shared more widely.
In her speech to MPs and attendees, Chief Executive Danielle Hunt revealed that an alarming 97% of all potential service users surveyed felt they needed some form of support from the charity with:
- 61% of pharmacist respondents needing support with stress at work
- 59% of pharmacist respondents needing support with their work-life balance
- 47% of pharmacist respondents needing support managing their wellbeing.
Other findings were equally worrying, with a resounding 85% of respondents to the research identifying the impact of the funding cuts on the sector as a “core challenge” facing the profession today, followed closely by inadequate staffing (83%). For pharmacists working in a community setting, this figure is even more dramatic – with 97% of these respondents identifying budget cuts being a core challenge.
Community pharmacists consistently stood out in the research as having the biggest concerns about their general wellbeing. While concerns about mental health stood out in the overall sample (71% of all respondents), 78% of community pharmacists identified it as one of their key issues, and 68% agreed isolation was a key problem – very close to double the proportion of hospital pharmacists thinking isolation was a core challenge.
Pharmacist Support Chief Executive Danielle Hunt said “Given the nature of these findings that have highlighted some major concerns around stress and wellbeing we have decided to launch them publicly to help raise awareness in the sector and to support the activities of many of our partners working with pharmacists.
“92% of our survey respondents agreed that ‘more needs to be done to raise awareness of issues facing the pharmacy profession’ and that Pharmacist Support should be one of the organisations helping to do this. Our event today in Parliament is our first step in proactively contributing to the crucial conversations taking place. The charity is in a unique position, gaining insight directly from pharmacists requiring support and advice. We have started to see first-hand the direct impact the core challenges are having on individuals and are keen to share our experiences in the hope it can be used to create positive change.”
Supporting the Charity’s findings, Sunil Lakhani, pharmacy owner and charity trustee, shared his own personal experience of the impact the funding cuts have had on himself and his team. He admitted “I have had many sleepless nights worrying about how I manage cash flow when NHS payments can fluctuate by up to 30% each month, despite dispensing around the same numbers of prescriptions every month. I have had to reduce staff hours and continue to look for ways to save money in order to mitigate the decrease in income, but I feel there is very little more I can do.”
In order to help bring these issues to the fore, at today’s parliamentary event, Pharmacist Support asked MPs and attendees to pledge their support for the charity’s #GoGreen4PS campaign. The aim of this year’s campaign (that runs from World Pharmacists Day on the 25th Sept through till 31st October) is to highlight the issues and key challenges impacting pharmacists, to raise awareness of the vital free services available via the charity and to bring the pharmacy community together to raise much needed funds to help more individuals.
Also speaking at today’s event were co-host and editor at Chemist & Druggist James Waldron, event sponsor and chair of the APPG Sir Kevin Barron MP and Chief Executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies Leyla Hannbeck. Each brought their own perspectives, research and experiences on the pressures facing todays pharmacy workforce.
To access Pharmacist Supports full market research report, visit: https://pharmacistsupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Pharmacist-Support-Market-Research-Report-FINAL.pdf
For further information on the charity’s #GoGreen4PS campaign, visit: https://pharmacistsupport.org/press-release-gogreen4ps-2019/