The Community Pharmacy Workforce Development Group, which the CCA supports, responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recent call to evidence regarding salary thresholds and the introduction of a points based immigration system. A summary of the key issues raised in this response follows below:
The pharmacy profession is experiencing significant challenges recruiting and retaining pharmacists in community settings.
In 2018 there was a 25% reduction in applications to schools of pharmacy at English Universities and members have raised concerns about future closures of pharmacy schools due to a lack of students.
These concerns are exacerbated by increasing numbers of pharmacists choosing to leave the profession.
Furthermore, changes to the NHS contract mean that community pharmacists are required to deliver more without increases in remuneration (adding additional workload and the potential for increased stress). This contributes to negative perceptions of the sector.
Members of the CPWDG also report that shortages are exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty.
Future migration policy must recognise current shortages in the context of ambitions set-out in the NHS Long-Term Plan and NHS People Plan, which will require an estimated 7,500 additional clinical pharmacists, many of which are likely to be filled by current community pharmacists.
Future migration policy should also consider the important role of pharmacy technicians. We note that in September 2018, MAC recommended Tier-2 jobs should be open to all jobs at RQF3+ , which includes pharmacy technicians. Members anticipate potential issues recruiting technicians with the current threshold of £30,000.