Boots supports the presence of pharmacists on the list of professions in shortage

The SOL will be reviewed later this year, but at present “the profession remains on the Home Office’s SOL, which we are currently supporting as a way to facilitate recruitment needs,” the multiple wrote in its submission. to Investigation of the health and social commission on recruitment, training and retention issues.

Boots described the challenges faced when recruiting overseas, calling for a “quick review” to understand community pharmacy workforce needs in the submission, which was released earlier this month ( March 2).

Read more: Why did the Home Office add pharmacists to the list of shortage professions?

“The community pharmacy sector has successfully recruited and employed a good number of trained pharmacists from foreign countries, adding to the valued diversity of the profession,” Boots said.

C+D has asked the Health and Social Care Committee whether its future inquiry sessions will focus specifically on the community pharmacy sector. A spokesperson told C+D today (March 21) that while the investigation is evidence-based, the committee cannot share details of future sessions at this time.

Pharmacists have been added to the government soil Last year.

However, some locum pharmacists and the PDA have questioned whether pharmacists should be part of the SOL.

Brexit and lower wages aggravate recruitment difficulties

The number of pharmacists registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has “increased dramatically over the past decade,” Boots acknowledged in his memoir, before going into detail about the issues that have plagued international recruitment efforts. .

Brexit has had a negative impact on the recruitment of European pharmacists, while declining wages in the UK and “market forces” have also impacted “traditional markets like New Zealand and Australia “, writes the multiple.

In addition, the territories which have “historically” experienced “greater recruitment needs are less and less sought after by the overseas population”. This only adds to the “tricky recruitment problem” in these parts of the country, Boots added.

“Recruitment and retention challenges are beginning to be felt across the country. Currently, our highest number of vacancies are now in London, which has never been the case before,” the multiple noted.

How many pharmacists are registered in the GPhC register?

Responding to a written parliamentary question last week (17 March) asking whether the government had carried out an assessment of workforce levels in the sector, Pharmacy Minister Maria Caulfield referred to the latest data on the workforce – community pharmacy plan for 2021 published by Health Education England in January.

She pointed out that the workforce of pharmacists has increased by 18% since 2017, according to the survey.

As of January 31, there were 85,742 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on the register, according to GPhC data.

“The register shows an increase in the number of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians year after year,” she commented.

A “quick review” of labor needs is needed

“We don’t know that there is currently an adequate system to determine the number of professionals required now or in five years,” Boots added.

But “there needs to be a rapid review of current plans to gather the data needed to understand the current workforce landscape as well as the interdependencies between different health sectors and within sectors,” suggested the multiple.

Boots also argued that “more innovative working conditions” could be tested in parts of the UK where recruitment challenges are a bigger problem.

For example, the government could remove some contractual and tax barriers to allow portfolio work, he said.

Impact of NCPs on recruitment

Boots also advocated for “thoughtful action to get a close understanding” of the impact Primary Care Network (PCN) recruitment is having on the community pharmacy sector.

The multiple gave a few reasons why pharmacists and other team members might decide to leave the community sector, including unsocial working hours and “higher perceived job satisfaction, less pressure, [and] a better work-life balance” that can be achieved elsewhere.

Read more: Underappreciated and lonely: the other side of the role of the PCN pharmacist

Additional Roles Reimbursement (ARRS) funding that NCPs use to recruit staff into different roles could be used to “task the community pharmacy to deliver services locally and in an integrated manner, which would allow for flexibility within the entire workforce,” he suggested.

But ultimately, integrated care systems should “consider the impact of any workforce initiative holistically across multiple sectors rather than in silos” so as not to “harm any individual sector”, he argued.

Catch up with the great C+D debate, which asked: Is there a shortage of community pharmacists?

Michael A. Bynum