Workforce is biggest challenge faced by community pharmacies, LPC representatives say

Delegates at the November 2021 Local Pharmaceutical Conference identified workforce issues as the "top challenge" currently facing pharmacy contractors.

Workforce issues were the main concern for almost two-thirds of delegates at a recent Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) conference, according to a poll of those present.

Delegates from 66 LPCs, both in person and online, attended the conference held in London on 10 November 2021.

Asked to identify the “top challenge” currently faced by pharmacy contractors, 64% said that workforce shortages was the main issue.

Financial matters were also a concern, with 17% of delegates choosing this as their main challenge.

At the same meeting, delegates were asked to suggest focal areas for the Community Pharmacy Workforce Development Group to prioritise. Specific points raised by attendees included recruitment and retention of pharmacy staff, the movement of pharmacists from community to primary care networks and improving staff development opportunities for pharmacy teams.

In March 2021, pharmacists were added to the government’s shortage occupation list, with particular workforce shortages noted in the south east of England.

Commenting on the results a spokesperson for the PSNC said in a statement: “The results of the conference’s temperature check polls will help the PSNC to prioritise its work streams for the coming months.”

In March 2021 pharmacists were added to the government’s list of occupations where there is a national shortage, and, in October 2021, The Pharmaceutical Journal reported that more than three-quarters of respondents to its 2021 salary and job satisfaction survey said that a “lack of staff” was a barrier to doing their job effectively. This concern was particularly acute in the hospital and community sectors, with around nine in ten hospital pharmacists (92%) and community pharmacists (87%) worrying about the impact of staff shortages.

Speaking on the salary survey findings, Claire Anderson, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said that there was a “very clear” correlation between “the stresses on the profession and the challenges of recruitment and staff”.

Anderson added that it was “critical that there is meaningful and robust pharmacy workforce planning in place, which takes into account all sectors, skill mix requirements and workforce changes resulting from new services and digital improvements”.

Read more: Work-related stress: the hidden pandemic in pharmacy

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2021, Vol 307, No 7955;307(7955)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.117646