The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) is disappointed that the Pharmacist Defence Association (PDA) continue to claim that the very real workforce challenges the community pharmacy sector faces are an isolated problem affecting CCA companies only or are even totally non-existent.
PDA Chairman Mark Koziol attended the 22nd February All-Party Pharmacy Group evidence session on the pharmacy workforce where he heard, first-hand, the recruitment and retention challenges that Anil Sharma, an independent pharmacist and Paul Mason, Superintendent Pharmacist at Lo’s Pharmacy, an independent multiple, faced.
These issues are just a microcosm of what is happening nationally and across the entire health and social care system. Indeed, the Department of Health and Social Care has commissioned NHSE/I to produce a long-term workforce plan for this very reason. To dismiss the very workforce challenges that Anil and Paul spoke so eloquently about at the event which the PDA’s Chairman attended, is disingenuous and a disservice to the pharmacists and pharmacy staff that have worked tirelessly over the Covid-19 pandemic.
We strongly urge the PDA to join the CCA and all employers in the sector to stand united on the workforce shortage issues affecting pharmacies up and down the country. We hope that together we can work with commissioners to secure better workforce planning and concerted investment into a sector which so desperately needs it.
The CCA recently talked to Anil Sharma, who owns a small group of pharmacies with his wife in East Anglia, who said the following:
“I am finding it increasingly challenging to recruit pharmacists despite our pharmacies delivering a whole host of services. It’s becoming impossible to recruit across city and rural areas and this is due to a lack of career opportunities in community pharmacy because of the sector’s flat-funding and pharmacists being drawn to Primary Care Networks (PCNs). We’ve not struggled like this in all my sixteen years of trading. Ultimately, we feel unsupported and underinvested by the Government especially when pharmacists have done so much over the pandemic. The workforce crisis is particularly apparent in rural areas and will continue to have a huge impact on the elderly patients in such places. I would invite anyone who believes that the workforce crisis does not exist to come and see what’s happening on the ground.”