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Future of Pharmacy

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    Hi,

    I have recently spoken to several pharmacists and they do not seem to be optimistic in the way pharmacy is progressing within the UK. Many feel that pharmacists may not even be needed in the future and that salaries will decrease a lot.

    I will graduate in 3 years time, and I feel that by that time, there will be definitely a shortage of jobs for pharmacist. I think that is probably already happening now.

    Some people have told me that if you work hard ( get decent grades, work experience, etc), then you should be able to find a job wherever you go. And, that the only people that have to worry are the ones that coast through the degree and put in minimal effort in anything.

    I would appreciate your opinion on this matter.
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    every career has a level of uncertainity in it. Regardless supply and demand will always change. Just make sure you have a passion for whatever field you go into. If you are that worried then come up with a plan B career if things go belly up.
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    It is not looking good. Pre reg places are getting hard to get too as there are too many applicants. The pharmacy board/society surely should have seen this coming but they don't even have the power to cap student numbers like medicine or dentistry, that is shocking for a profession like pharmacy.

    4 years of hard work and then no job - that looks likely now for many pharmacy students. Whether you get a top pharmacy degree or you coast through or even if you have experience it will make no difference - jobs are decreasing in pharmacy and there are too many people fighting for one pharmacy job both in community and hospital.
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    (Original post by firestar101)
    Hi,

    I have recently spoken to several pharmacists and they do not seem to be optimistic in the way pharmacy is progressing within the UK. Many feel that pharmacists may not even be needed in the future and that salaries will decrease a lot.

    I will graduate in 3 years time, and I feel that by that time, there will be definitely a shortage of jobs for pharmacist. I think that is probably already happening now.

    Some people have told me that if you work hard ( get decent grades, work experience, etc), then you should be able to find a job wherever you go. And, that the only people that have to worry are the ones that coast through the degree and put in minimal effort in anything.

    I would appreciate your opinion on this matter.
    Pharmacists will always be needed. The clinical expertise and medicines knowledge of a pharmacist is vital for safe and effective healthcare.

    You may notice that the pharmacists that complain about a bleak future are the ones who are doing nothing about it. They're the ones treating it simply as a job, and not as a professional career. The fact that less than 20% of pharmacists voted in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society elections this year speaks volumes. Pharmacy as a profession is full of people who complain, but are too apathetic to do anything about it. If people want to see change then they have to be willing to get involved and make the changes, not sit back and whine about it.

    And yes, the job market will become more competitive. But it's my strong belief that those who get involved in the profession and do more during the degree won't have a problem. Again, it is those who just treat it as a normal degree who will struggle.


    (Original post by college80)
    It is not looking good. Pre reg places are getting hard to get too as there are too many applicants. The pharmacy board/society surely should have seen this coming but they don't even have the power to cap student numbers like medicine or dentistry, that is shocking for a profession like pharmacy.

    4 years of hard work and then no job - that looks likely now for many pharmacy students. Whether you get a top pharmacy degree or you coast through or even if you have experience it will make no difference - jobs are decreasing in pharmacy and there are too many people fighting for one pharmacy job both in community and hospital.
    Unfortunately a number of factors have lead to this position. Because of the nature of pharmacy employment (75% of it being non-NHS) and education the department of health hasn't been able to cap the number of pharmacy students. Also, the General Pharmaceutical Council (Pharmacy regulator) has no power within the Law to be able to cap student numbers. Because of the way pharmacy degrees are funded and function they are exempt from caps on students attaining high A-level grades, which has become increasingly common over the past few years. The management of universities (not the schools of pharmacy) are the ones forcing larger cohorts through to increase revenue. Couple this with the new schools opening we're seeing an explosion of student numbers.

    However, work is afoot to develop a system where the numbers of pharmacy students are managed to ensure students do not risk going without a training place.

    I think the effort someone puts into the degree will make a difference. Whilst many employers do not care where you studied or whether you get a 1st or 2:1, your involvement in the degree and extra-curricular work will really have an affect in the future.
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    (Original post by TigerSwift)
    Pharmacists will always be needed. The clinical expertise and medicines knowledge of a pharmacist is vital for safe and effective healthcare.

    You may notice that the pharmacists that complain about a bleak future are the ones who are doing nothing about it. They're the ones treating it simply as a job, and not as a professional career. The fact that less than 20% of pharmacists voted in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society elections this year speaks volumes. Pharmacy as a profession is full of people who complain, but are too apathetic to do anything about it. If people want to see change then they have to be willing to get involved and make the changes, not sit back and whine about it.
    I completely agree with this comment. We must make our voices heard to ensure the future of pharmacy in the UK.
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    (Original post by petzneo)
    I completely agree with this comment. We must make our voices heard to ensure the future of pharmacy in the UK.
    Agreed. Look at how doctors voiced their opinions, and ensured they got that high pay and got out of the crappy nhs salary banding system. One thing is for certain though, the new generation of pharmacists will have to be more vocal and involved in politics if we want our profession to grow and prosper, as our leadership is pants. Otherwise, best be looking at a 2nd career or something in the near future...
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    I think the future of pharmacy is street pharmacy :/.
    I think this due to the boring job that the regular pharmacists have. Street Pharmacists don't have to pay any tax and there job is much more exciting. They have to play cops and robbers with the police and you never know when your next client might pull out a knife
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    It's a good idea to get the word out and speak to the society, talk in places that make a difference. But bear in mind nothing will change in a hurry and I would discourage entering the profession until the horizon looked a little clearer. There is nothing wrong with waiting a few years before committing to the MPharm. I have suggested my son find work with a diploma for the next 3 years before he decides if he really wants to join me in pharmacy. I would be nervous for him if he were to hurry into this career as things currently are.
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    (Original post by Past Creature)
    It's a good idea to get the word out and speak to the society, talk in places that make a difference. But bear in mind nothing will change in a hurry and I would discourage entering the profession until the horizon looked a little clearer. There is nothing wrong with waiting a few years before committing to the MPharm. I have suggested my son find work with a diploma for the next 3 years before he decides if he really wants to join me in pharmacy. I would be nervous for him if he were to hurry into this career as things currently are.
    Agreed. The future of pharmacy is looking very bad.
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    (Original post by TigerSwift)
    Pharmacists will always be needed. The clinical expertise and medicines knowledge of a pharmacist is vital for safe and effective healthcare.

    You may notice that the pharmacists that complain about a bleak future are the ones who are doing nothing about it. They're the ones treating it simply as a job, and not as a professional career. The fact that less than 20% of pharmacists voted in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society elections this year speaks volumes. Pharmacy as a profession is full of people who complain, but are too apathetic to do anything about it. If people want to see change then they have to be willing to get involved and make the changes, not sit back and whine about it.

    And yes, the job market will become more competitive. But it's my strong belief that those who get involved in the profession and do more during the degree won't have a problem. Again, it is those who just treat it as a normal degree who will struggle.




    Unfortunately a number of factors have lead to this position. Because of the nature of pharmacy employment (75% of it being non-NHS) and education the department of health hasn't been able to cap the number of pharmacy students. Also, the General Pharmaceutical Council (Pharmacy regulator) has no power within the Law to be able to cap student numbers. Because of the way pharmacy degrees are funded and function they are exempt from caps on students attaining high A-level grades, which has become increasingly common over the past few years. The management of universities (not the schools of pharmacy) are the ones forcing larger cohorts through to increase revenue. Couple this with the new schools opening we're seeing an explosion of student numbers.

    However, work is afoot to develop a system where the numbers of pharmacy students are managed to ensure students do not risk going without a training place.

    I think the effort someone puts into the degree will make a difference. Whilst many employers do not care where you studied or whether you get a 1st or 2:1, your involvement in the degree and extra-curricular work will really have an affect in the future.
    I have been a pharmacist for almost a year now and i can tell you something for definite: COMMUNITY PHARMACIES DO NOT CARE WHERE YOU STUDIED, WHAT YOUR DEGREE CLASSIFICATION IS, WHAT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES YOU HAVE DONE AND WHAT EXPERIENCE YOU'VE GOT. THEY WILL HIRE THE PHARMACISTS WHO ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR A LOW SALARY (PEANUTS)!!! . Before you start having a go at me, i have heard this from a pharmacy manager and an area manager. Those of you who think other wise are, Im sorry to say this, naive. The salaries are dropping, the locum rates are dropping, locum work is drying up and in some parts it is virtually none existent. Pharmacy is dead for the following reasons:

    1. increased number of pharmacy schools = increased number of pharmacists = low salaries and shortage of jobs (more pharmacy graduates will be leaving uni with increased debts and will therefore work for peanuts, simply because there will be a shortage of jobs, and hence will have no choice. The community pharmacy chains are salivating at this prospect because they will be getting cheap labour (sorry i meant fresh faced, enthusiastic young pharmacists) who will work under atrocious conditions (sorry i meant exciting conditions) and be worked into the round (sorry i meant help their companies offer excellent customer and pharmaceutical services)
    2. continous influx of EU pharmacists who will be more complaint than UK pharmacists (because apparently they have no problems with being treated like crap, because they went through it under the old communist regimes) and work for lower wages
    3. a weak and pathetic governing body

    I AM 1000% SURE THAT THINGS NEVER EVER IMPROVE BECAUSE THE DAMAGE DONE IS TOO SEVERE TO FIX. SO PLEASE PHARMACY STUDENTS AND POTENTIAL PHARMACY STUDENTS, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR HEALTH, POCKET AND DIGNITY, STAY AWAY FROM PHARMACY OR GET OUT OF IT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!!! DO NOT BELIEVE THE LIES THE UNIS AND TUTORS TELL YOU!! THE MORE PHARMACY STUDENTS THEY HAVE AND THE MORE SCHOOLS OF PHARMACY THERE ARE, THE MORE SECURE THEIR JOBS ARE. THEY ARE SIMPLY USING YOU AND ONCE YOU FINISH THE DEGREE YOU ARE NO LONGER THEIR PROBLEM!!!
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    (Original post by grimreefer)
    I have been a pharmacist for almost a year now and i can tell you something for definite: COMMUNITY PHARMACIES DO NOT CARE WHERE YOU STUDIED, WHAT YOUR DEGREE CLASSIFICATION IS, WHAT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES YOU HAVE DONE AND WHAT EXPERIENCE YOU'VE GOT. THEY WILL HIRE THE PHARMACISTS WHO ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR A LOW SALARY (PEANUTS)!!! . Before you start having a go at me, i have heard this from a pharmacy manager and an area manager. Those of you who think other wise are, Im sorry to say this, naive. The salaries are dropping, the locum rates are dropping, locum work is drying up and in some parts it is virtually none existent. Pharmacy is dead for the following reasons:

    1. increased number of pharmacy schools = increased number of pharmacists = low salaries and shortage of jobs (more pharmacy graduates will be leaving uni with increased debts and will therefore work for peanuts, simply because there will be a shortage of jobs, and hence will have no choice. The community pharmacy chains are salivating at this prospect because they will be getting cheap labour (sorry i meant fresh faced, enthusiastic young pharmacists) who will work under atrocious conditions (sorry i meant exciting conditions) and be worked into the round (sorry i meant help their companies offer excellent customer and pharmaceutical services)
    2. continous influx of EU pharmacists who will be more complaint than UK pharmacists (because apparently they have no problems with being treated like crap, because they went through it under the old communist regimes) and work for lower wages
    3. a weak and pathetic governing body

    I AM 1000% SURE THAT THINGS NEVER EVER IMPROVE BECAUSE THE DAMAGE DONE IS TOO SEVERE TO FIX. SO PLEASE PHARMACY STUDENTS AND POTENTIAL PHARMACY STUDENTS, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR HEALTH, POCKET AND DIGNITY, STAY AWAY FROM PHARMACY OR GET OUT OF IT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!!! DO NOT BELIEVE THE LIES THE UNIS AND TUTORS TELL YOU!! THE MORE PHARMACY STUDENTS THEY HAVE AND THE MORE SCHOOLS OF PHARMACY THERE ARE, THE MORE SECURE THEIR JOBS ARE. THEY ARE SIMPLY USING YOU AND ONCE YOU FINISH THE DEGREE YOU ARE NO LONGER THEIR PROBLEM!!!
    What do you suggest we do then. There are not many other options out there.
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    What is also stupid is the 5 year scheme where ur pre reg is integrated within ur year. U do 6 months hospital and 6 months community. This will mean u are paying an extra £9 grand and also not getting paid for pre reg. So all in all u are losing about ~£28,000.
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    (Original post by grimreefer)
    I have been a pharmacist for almost a year now and i can tell you something for definite: COMMUNITY PHARMACIES DO NOT CARE WHERE YOU STUDIED, WHAT YOUR DEGREE CLASSIFICATION IS, WHAT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES YOU HAVE DONE AND WHAT EXPERIENCE YOU'VE GOT. THEY WILL HIRE THE PHARMACISTS WHO ARE WILLING TO WORK FOR A LOW SALARY (PEANUTS)!!! . Before you start having a go at me, i have heard this from a pharmacy manager and an area manager. Those of you who think other wise are, Im sorry to say this, naive. The salaries are dropping, the locum rates are dropping, locum work is drying up and in some parts it is virtually none existent. Pharmacy is dead for the following reasons:

    1. increased number of pharmacy schools = increased number of pharmacists = low salaries and shortage of jobs (more pharmacy graduates will be leaving uni with increased debts and will therefore work for peanuts, simply because there will be a shortage of jobs, and hence will have no choice. The community pharmacy chains are salivating at this prospect because they will be getting cheap labour (sorry i meant fresh faced, enthusiastic young pharmacists) who will work under atrocious conditions (sorry i meant exciting conditions) and be worked into the round (sorry i meant help their companies offer excellent customer and pharmaceutical services)
    2. continous influx of EU pharmacists who will be more complaint than UK pharmacists (because apparently they have no problems with being treated like crap, because they went through it under the old communist regimes) and work for lower wages
    3. a weak and pathetic governing body

    I AM 1000% SURE THAT THINGS NEVER EVER IMPROVE BECAUSE THE DAMAGE DONE IS TOO SEVERE TO FIX. SO PLEASE PHARMACY STUDENTS AND POTENTIAL PHARMACY STUDENTS, FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR HEALTH, POCKET AND DIGNITY, STAY AWAY FROM PHARMACY OR GET OUT OF IT WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!!! DO NOT BELIEVE THE LIES THE UNIS AND TUTORS TELL YOU!! THE MORE PHARMACY STUDENTS THEY HAVE AND THE MORE SCHOOLS OF PHARMACY THERE ARE, THE MORE SECURE THEIR JOBS ARE. THEY ARE SIMPLY USING YOU AND ONCE YOU FINISH THE DEGREE YOU ARE NO LONGER THEIR PROBLEM!!!
    As depressing as the things the above poster says he is more or less right.

    The Pharmacy board is pretty much toothless at getting the government to listen or to get things done. They tried with wanting to decriminalise dispensing errors but failed miserably at getting it approved so what chance of them creating more pharmacy roles or positions to accommodate all the extra graduates? Little chance.

    They should have tried to block new pharmacy schools or at the very least discussed the dangers of more schools but nothing happened. Now discussions about too many graduates and a new integrated degree are happening but it is already way too late.
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    (Original post by college80)
    The Pharmacy board is pretty much toothless at getting the government to listen or to get things done. They tried with wanting to decriminalise dispensing errors but failed miserably at getting it approved so what chance of them creating more pharmacy roles or positions to accommodate all the extra graduates? Little chance.

    They should have tried to block new pharmacy schools or at the very least discussed the dangers of more schools but nothing happened. Now discussions about too many graduates and a new integrated degree are happening but it is already way too late.
    I think a little more insight is needed into the realm of pharmacy politics on this forum. Not just this thread but the pharmacy part as a whole.

    The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is the professional leadership body for pharmacy and is working on a plethora of projects that will enhance and benefit pharmacy practice and pharmacists. You can find out a lot of what they are doing here: www.rpharms.com/home/what-s-happening-.asp

    They haven't failed miserably at decriminalising single dispensing errors. Yes, there was a set back with getting the Medicines Act changed to reflect this directly, but it was argued this shouldn't be addressed in the medicines act but elsewhere. There is now work being undertaken by the RPS, the GPhC (pharmacy regulator) and others to remove the risk of prosecution from single dispensing errors.

    Unfortunately there are no powers granted to either the RPS or the regulators to stop new schools of pharmacy being opened. Because of the way pharmacy undergraduate education is funded there is a free market as such. Also, the cap on student numbers doesn't apply to those achieving high A-level results, which makes up the vast majority of pharmacy course requirements. On a final note the problem with oversupply of students is not unique to pharmacy - in fact, at the recent Medical Students Conference (BMA Medical Students' Committee) they raised a number of concerns around oversupply of medical graduates leading to some not getting foundation training places.

    The BPSA, RPS, Council of University Heads of Pharmacy Schools, and the DoH are having serious discussions about how to tackle to current oversupply of pharmacy graduates. Keep an eye out in the Pharmaceutical Journal for more news.
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    (Original post by TigerSwift)
    I think a little more insight is needed into the realm of pharmacy politics on this forum. Not just this thread but the pharmacy part as a whole.

    The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is the professional leadership body for pharmacy and is working on a plethora of projects that will enhance and benefit pharmacy practice and pharmacists. You can find out a lot of what they are doing here: www.rpharms.com/home/what-s-happening-.asp

    They haven't failed miserably at decriminalising single dispensing errors. Yes, there was a set back with getting the Medicines Act changed to reflect this directly, but it was argued this shouldn't be addressed in the medicines act but elsewhere. There is now work being undertaken by the RPS, the GPhC (pharmacy regulator) and others to remove the risk of prosecution from single dispensing errors.

    Unfortunately there are no powers granted to either the RPS or the regulators to stop new schools of pharmacy being opened. Because of the way pharmacy undergraduate education is funded there is a free market as such. Also, the cap on student numbers doesn't apply to those achieving high A-level results, which makes up the vast majority of pharmacy course requirements. On a final note the problem with oversupply of students is not unique to pharmacy - in fact, at the recent Medical Students Conference (BMA Medical Students' Committee) they raised a number of concerns around oversupply of medical graduates leading to some not getting foundation training places.

    The BPSA, RPS, Council of University Heads of Pharmacy Schools, and the DoH are having serious discussions about how to tackle to current oversupply of pharmacy graduates. Keep an eye out in the Pharmaceutical Journal for more news.
    I would like you to thank you for that post and I appreciate the work you are doing to improve the situation. You have made me worry abit less now and I urge fellow students to support tigerswift and to raise awareness as well.
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    By the way when will the new integrated degree be introduced, if it is to be introduced that is, are we still a few years away from getting this passed by the goverment?

    And what things are the current discussions looking at in order to tackle this issue? Do they(BPSA,RPS,etc) know that it needs to be tackled pretty soon to prevent an incredible oversupply of graduates?
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    (Original post by college80)
    By the way when will the new integrated degree be introduced, if it is to be introduced that is, are we still a few years away from getting this passed by the goverment?

    And what things are the current discussions looking at in order to tackle this issue? Do they(BPSA,RPS,etc) know that it needs to be tackled pretty soon to prevent an incredible oversupply of graduates?
    This is where Tiger swift and I disagreed. My prediction is in the next couple of years. The government didn't think twice about increasing the tuition fees to £9000 for EVERY student, I don't think they'd really care about the financial implications switching to the 5 year will have on a small minority. Supply has exceeded demand, we no longer are gagging for pharmacists. The DOH isn't going to keep paying for pharmacists to undertake the pre-reg when they're not all guaranteed employment. They'll probably implement a form of student loan so that the expenses can be covered. Doing the above will save the government a significant amount of money each year and is why I think it is very plausible to occur in the near future.


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    If i get the right placements and experience, then I should be in a strong position to get a pre-reg and hence a job afterwards.

    I've already done a community pharmacy placement for 4 weeks during the last summer holidays and I've got a hospital placement for a couple of days arranged this summer (through my uncle).

    This should give me a good idea of the things to come, but will this experience contribute to me getting a pre-reg (provided that i do placements during my four years) ??

    Just wondering .........
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    (Original post by James A)
    If i get the right placements and experience, then I should be in a strong position to get a pre-reg and hence a job afterwards.

    I've already done a community pharmacy placement for 4 weeks during the last summer holidays and I've got a hospital placement for a couple of days arranged this summer (through my uncle).

    This should give me a good idea of the things to come, but will this experience contribute to me getting a pre-reg (provided that i do placements during my four years) ??

    Just wondering .........
    Of course it will. You have to think that the recruitment teams only have a piece of paper to go on in the initial selection process. It's not difficult to get a first class these days so experience is where you stand out. That will only get your foot in the door though. You have to prove yourself to be an asset to the company during the placement stage and I'd guarentee they'll offer you a well paid position.

    I'm a second year with 3 hospital placements this year and one industrial. I was told by a supervisor for one of the hospital research placements that I was the only second year at strathclyde and RGU who was interviewed. I beat out 3rd and 4 years for one of the 3 positions.

    Experience is essential.


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