I happened to be in Barnet, North London, recently, and I popped into the local pharmacy for a couple things. To my delight, the locum pharmacist on duty there had been a student of mine a few years ago at the UCL School of Pharmacy.
Naturally, we had a chat and he said he had plenty of work, but the rates of pay were disappointing at £17–£19 per hour.
More than 20 years ago, I was paying £25–£27 per hour in my Essex pharmacies, and when I owned the pharmacy in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, a few years later I often paid £30 per hour for weekend work.
I thought those rates were good value for a person who had spent five years acquiring skills and knowledge, and, in addition, someone whom I could leave in full charge of the pharmacy as the responsible pharmacist. For a locum pharmacist, £17 per hour is obscene.
Thank goodness there are now opportunities for pharmacists to work in GP surgeries. This new branch of the profession gives pharmacists the opportunity to really use their qualification to its full extent and removes some of the pool of excess pharmacists that the universities are insisting on producing. Hopefully, as the supply reduces, the demand and salaries for locums will increase.
Barry Shooter, retired pharmacist, Hertfordshire