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EXCLUSIVE: Number of pharmacists working extra hours unpaid has doubled

By Isabel Shaw

08 Apr 2020

The number of pharmacists who work extra hours every day without pay has more than doubled since last year, new research has found.

In a survey of over 100 pharmacists across the UK, 69% of participants said they had worked a number of extra hours in 2019 with no extra pay to compensate, compared with 32% of pharmacists in 2018.

Superintendents and contractors appeared to have been bearing the brunt of unpaid overtime, with 70% and 68.8% respectively working extra hours every day – compared with only 27.5% of employee pharmacists.

More than half of all employee pharmacists from the survey said they had asked their employer for a pay rise and improved terms and conditions in their role in the last year. However, almost two-thirds of those who made the request said they were turned down.

The results indicated pharmacists need to be paid more to reflect their increased workload – money, according to one pharmacist, that pharmacies don’t currently have access to.

‘Pharmacy has continually taken on more work without any extra funding to staff the extra responsibilities effectively’, the pharmacist said, ‘mainly because the NHS won’t fund it and the PSNC doesn’t negotiate effectively’.

This new research is part of a wide-reaching survey of over 3,600 pharmacy staff and other healthcare professionals and was conducted between November 2019 and December 2019 – just before the pandemic outbreak in the UK began.

The seventh State of Primary Care report – published by Cogora – explored the state of primary care in 2019 from the perspective of the healthcare professionals involved and covered issues such as clinical priorities, staffing, morale and stress, primary care networks and Brexit.

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