Four in 10 community pharmacists plan to change their ‘workplace setting’ in the next three years, a report commissioned by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has revealed.

The report, published on 6 December, surveyed the regulator’s registrants across England, Scotland and Wales in June and July 2019, including almost 12,500 pharmacists.

Of the 12,368 pharmacist respondents, 63% said they had worked in a community pharmacy within the past 12 months and 26% specified that they had worked in an independent community pharmacy.

The report found that 41% of community pharmacists who were not planning to leave the profession in the next three years intend to ‘change workplace setting’.

This was the highest figure across all settings surveyed, with only 29% of primary care pharmacists and 38% of those working in secondary care saying that they planned to change the setting they worked in.

In July, The Pharmacist investigated why so many pharmacists are moving away from a career in the community sector and whether it can compete with the threat of practice pharmacy.


Most likely to leave profession


Community pharmacists are the most likely in the sector to leave the profession altogether in the next three years, the report revealed.

Fifteen per cent of community pharmacists said they were undecided about whether they would continue practising as a pharmacy professional in Great Britain over the next three years, it found.

This was the highest figure across all settings surveyed, with only 7% of primary care pharmacists and 11% of those working in secondary care saying they were ‘undecided’.

The report said: ‘Large proportions of pharmacists working only in a secondary care setting, only a primary care setting, other settings only or in multiple settings intended to continue practising in the next three years (85% to 92%).

‘However, a smaller proportion of those working only in a community setting did (82%), which was driven by 15% saying they were undecided.’

Pharmacists who registered via overseas were more likely to intend to continue to practise (87%) than those who registered via the UK and EEA (82% and 81% respectively), according to the report.


Low morale


The most common reason for not continuing to practise among pharmacists in general was intentions to leave the pharmacy sector entirely for another one (37%), followed by plans to retire (34%).

One in four pharmacists (25%) said they were planning to leave the profession due to ‘low job satisfaction’ or ‘low morale’, while almost one in five (19%) cited work overload, pressure or stress.

Low pay or reduced locum rates were a factor for 24% of pharmacists, according to the report.

Other reasons given were dislike [for the] pharmacy profession or the ‘future direction’ of the profession (12%), poor regulation or overregulation (9%) and long working hours (5%).

More than a third of community pharmacists (36%) who were not planning to leave also said that they wanted to decrease the number of hours they worked – the highest proportion among all settings.

Community pharmacists work the most hours per week according to the report, with an average of 36.7 hours per week compared with 31.8 and 35.4 in primary and secondary care respectively.

The report also revealed that community pharmacists are ‘most likely to be dissatisfied’ with their job compared with their colleagues working in other settings.


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