Are us pharmacists really training for a failing sector?

Watch
Okhotsk
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#1
Until very recently I was content with my choice to study Pharmacy, in fact I still am because I really do enjoy studying it at uni.. However, the sheer amount of negativity I have read about the future of Pharmacy, [particularly on this forum, but also on other professional pharmacy forums too] is really starting to make me think long and hard about how secure I will be in the future. I am at a good university (king's) but as I understand it, once you are qualified, you're qualified: so is it really true that there is a particularly higher amount of saturation in the pharmacy sector compared to other sectors, and is it also true that the role of the pharmacist is reducing, and hence job security and salary stability being questionable? I don't understand how it can just be "ignorant students making uneducated statements" when there is seemingly similar observations being made by working professionals.

Can someone with good knowledge clarify some of my concerns please? I still want to be a pharmacist, and am in unhappy with my decision, but I'm trying to understand better the things being said.

Many thanks
3
reply
flyylikejetz
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#2
Report 8 years ago
#2
(Original post by Okhotsk)
Until very recently I was content with my choice to study Pharmacy, in fact I still am because I really do enjoy studying it at uni.. However, the sheer amount of negativity I have read about the future of Pharmacy, [particularly on this forum, but also on other professional pharmacy forums too] is really starting to make me think long and hard about how secure I will be in the future. I am at a good university (king's) but as I understand it, once you are qualified, you're qualified: so is it really true that there is a particularly higher amount of saturation in the pharmacy sector compared to other sectors, and is it also true that the role of the pharmacist is reducing, and hence job security and salary stability being questionable? I don't understand how it can just be "ignorant students making uneducated statements" when there is seemingly similar observations being made by working professionals.

Can someone with good knowledge clarify some of my concerns please? I still want to be a pharmacist, and am in unhappy with my decision, but I'm trying to understand better the things being said.

Many thanks
The only thing I have read is that some company was proposing on making some drugs purchasable without any consulting a pharmacist which previously you would have had to talk to the pharmacist etc... to get hold of.

I think it is a shame there is such ignorance when it comes to pharmacists, they don't get no where near the respect they deserve for going to uni for 4Years to study pharmacy.... oh well that is society :/
3
reply
Okhotsk
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#3
Exactly. I feel a little trapped to be honest, if I ask my uni tutors they won't really know the truth anyway, and besides they are hardly going to tell me "yes, your chosen profession is in a pickle!" because they want me to stay on and keep giving them money. I'm less than half way through the degree, and seriously considering whether it is worth the time and expense, or whether I should change to a 2nd year BSc program and at least come out with a science degree, less debt and a more flexible degree... But, I am really enjoying the course, and would like to work as a pharmacist. Very frustrating..
0
reply
Okhotsk
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#4
From someone on an American pharmacy discussion board:

"I have been in pharmacy over 35 years and have seen many trends. The trend I see now in two fold, first the number of "baby boomers" that has fueled the profession are beginning to dwindle, second the number of graduates is increasing tremendously.
In 2 to 6 years there will be a surplus and you will see wages drop and the treatment of pharmacist go down hill.
I, myself had to take a 10 percent cut in pay last year and a reduction in hours.
At the moment the situation is static but soon will change for the worse. The only thing we have is our demand and that is going away fast. When demand leaves the money hungry chains will increase work load and decrease help and wages. We will have NOTHING to negotiate with at all.
IT IS COMING !!!!!!"


and...

"How right you are about trends being set against pharmacists. Supply and demand are the keys to every capitalistic market. Schools have already skewed the supply so badly that people are taking jobs in places they never would have even 3 yrs. ago. As for me I have been in pharmacy 34 yrs. and would advise all of you pre-pharm students to go into medicine. You will always be needed, you will have a hell of a lot more prestige and demand will always be on your side. To the guys my age,we had it made because we came along when the chains grew exponentially , salaries increased yearly and for a long time third party did not affect us. We were in great demand because of these circumstances. Now monetary pressures on employers as a result of poor third party payments have made working conditions horrible with no improvement in sight. In other words the golden age of pharmacy is gone forever except for the scoundrels that keep building new pharmacy schools. They will continue to line their pockets by suckering the ignorant into believing that pharmacy will always have a bright future."
0
reply
Okhotsk
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#5
This is especially worrying for me, as I want to live and work in London, and then when I have saved money, move abroad to another big city and live and work there for a further decade or so. It seems there are only jobs for people if they go into rural areas, and even there jobs are not easy to come by... I feel cheated!

The national salaries of Pharmacists in the UK according to the NHS is £22,000 to £33,000 - is this really the case? And are salaries going to go down as they are in the US?
0
reply
Killuminati1989
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#6
Report 8 years ago
#6
I have graduated from pharmacy and working currently as a pre reg. The negativity stems from NHS cuts to funding... because pharmacy is not part of the NHS is is only contracted out, this means we are the first to feel the the burn from funding cuts. Category M reductions in dispensing fees and more services that pharmacies have to provide which are being funded by the Category M reductions. In essence we are working twice as hard for the same pay, they are in reality robbing peter to pay paul in a sense...

Another issue is the pressure pharmacists get to complete their 400 MURs per year from headoffice, that is all they care about

This is the reason i have sat the Gamsat exam and looking elsewhere, perhaps medicine or a law conversion degree to do medico-legal work part time
1
reply
Killuminati1989
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#7
Report 8 years ago
#7
(Original post by Okhotsk)
This is especially worrying for me, as I want to live and work in London, and then when I have saved money, move abroad to another big city and live and work there for a further decade or so. It seems there are only jobs for people if they go into rural areas, and even there jobs are not easy to come by... I feel cheated!

The national salaries of Pharmacists in the UK according to the NHS is £22,000 to £33,000 - is this really the case? And are salaries going to go down as they are in the US?
The locum rate is also dropping from an average of £22-£26p/h down to £15-£18p/h. This is apparently because some people (mainly women) will accept low rates and work longer hours. What is disturbing is that with 3 new pharmacy schools opening, graduate jobs will be harder to find and salaries may dip lower as we come to see more and more pharmacists accepting lower rates because of competition. In essence, what may happen is what we are seeing in optometry where Specsavers have driven salaries and locum rates down.
0
reply
FPS Doug
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#8
Report 8 years ago
#8
Get out while you still can, before you have incurred too much debt and are forced to continue. I am glad I made the decision not to study Pharmacy 4 years ago when I applied to University - my degree in Biology was interesting, and the options open to me are there if I want to work in a variety of fields with good career possibilities. I am considering teaching, as it is secure, well-paid, and I have developed a passion for the subject over my degree. Your idea to change from MPharm to a BSc is a wise one and I would recommend it. It really pisses me off how the pharmacy schools are literally ruining peoples' dreams and forcing them into sticky situations where they can't get jobs and are going to be much worse off than they had been told. So glad I didn't do Pharmacy at university, I can't even tell you!
10
reply
MarsVolta
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#9
Report 8 years ago
#9
Failing might be abit harsh! One of my best mates has a pharm degree and she hasn't been able to get on any extra training posts after finishing, so she's had to settle with a graduate job from waitrose from the time being, basically kissing goodbye to her pharmacy career. yeah, you will be lucky to find a job as a pharmacist in a overpopulated place things would seem.

Do you really enjoy your course enough for the risks to be worth it? you must decide yourself.
4
reply
jimmyjimmybob
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#10
Report 8 years ago
#10
Why not consider Medicine or Dentistry? you will be more likely to find work as either, and they take the same amount of time to become qualified, am I right? don't really know much about pharmacy but a lot of people from all corners of higher education are finding it hard to get work, so maybe just stick with it if you enjoy it?
7
reply
flyylikejetz
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#11
Report 8 years ago
#11
(Original post by jimmyjimmybob)
Why not consider Medicine or Dentistry? you will be more likely to find work as either, and they take the same amount of time to become qualified, am I right? don't really know much about pharmacy but a lot of people from all corners of higher education are finding it hard to get work, so maybe just stick with it if you enjoy it?
Mpharm is 4 years + 1 reg year
Medicine is 5 years + 2 fnd years + 3 years (if you want to specialise)
0
reply
amirlad
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#12
Report 8 years ago
#12
My uncle went to De Monfort for pharm (i.e. not the best pharmacy degree) and qualified in the late 90s and he's never not been employed. After a few years of working in his local pharmacy he bought it once the pharmacist&owner retired, and my uncle now lives very comfortably.

However he lets me read the CVs (bit naughty i know) of the numerous graduates who apply for a nonexistant pharmacist position in his pharmacy every week. he says the situation is quite bad, and has never recommended anyone to go into pharmacy.

hope this helps, i'm just telling you what he told me good luck
2
reply
Imagine a lake
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#13
Report 8 years ago
#13
this is so interesting! OP, i have some bad news for you i'm afraid.. i have been looking at a career in healthcare for sometime now and recently took it upon myself to do some research in my mum's hopsital. SO, i spoke to one of my mum's colleagues last week, who is a consultant pharmacist, and i asked her for insight into the job. the main points she made were to put me quite off the career!! According to her newly qualified pharmacists are at a loss if they want to have a fulfilling career in the hospital, beacuse the way the hospitals are being ordered to streamline prescribing and dispensing means that their roles will be more focussed on being enterprising and less on patient care. she said the job was becomming increasingly stressful because of the increasing perception that pharmacists are a burden to the system. she said if you want to be treated with respect and not feel like you could get replaced or laid off over the most trivial of errors (which she said does happen regularly because of the high numbers of experienced pharmacists waiting to change hospitals/department or even just fresh graduates waiting to step-in) then she would definitely not recommend pharmacy. she laughed when she said that, but it seemed like she was being serious deep down. another thing she said was that doctors, and even nurses, get much more respect in the hospital because they have more contact with the patients, and there is always a specified role for them to fill, where as the pharmacist is hopping around departments, trying to implement their expertise - she said it is becoming more multi-disciplinary and you will be thrown around the hospital like a rag doll so you can make yourself useful. she said it's not worth the stress, or the lack of recognition. she said if i want to have a good career in hospital, that i should consider going back to school and studying to be a physician, or consider one of the many branches of nursing.

i'm still thinking about what to do, and need to complete some research about community pharmacy as well, but from what everyone is saying, don't touch this career with a barge pole unless you want no job satisfaction.
6
reply
Okhotsk
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#14
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#14
Does no-one have a good thing to say then? Come on, surely someone out there can provide some positive and inspiring stories?

If not, what choice do we have? Become pharmacy professors in the 1.8 trillion pharmacy schools in the UK? Great.

So with everything being automated, and the people who do find work accepting less pay and worse working conditions, what exactly is the point in spending the next 3 years slogging away, learning my drug interactions, etc. when a computer can do it for me, for next to no cost?

I hate how misleading the education institutions have been. I feel really angry!!!
1
reply
F1's Finest
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#15
Report 8 years ago
#15
fml lol
1
reply
Okhotsk
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#16
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#16
Well there is still 3 weeks before have to make up my mind so if anyone could provide some more information ill keep checking back... thanks in advance
0
reply
Pride
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#17
Report 8 years ago
#17
Well this thread and that post earlier, a quote from a pharmacist? These things are bound to scare pharmacy students and potential applicants.

Let's think about this rationally though. Are some of the posters above trying to tell me that pharmacy graduates are less likely to find work than biology students? I mean, seriously? A vocational course like pharmacy? The biology student who said she's glad she changed her mind from pharm to biology, I don't agree with your reasoning, if it was better career prospects you were after.

And perhaps demand for pharmacy is falling, perhaps there is excess supply. I think with most jobs there is competition, I'm guessing it just won't be as simple to get your place as it may have been in the past.
2
reply
shapes
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#18
Report 8 years ago
#18
So it would seem... It comes down to a basic supply and demand principle, as does anything where making money is concerned.

Some facts about pharmacy:

22 schools of pharmacy in the UK
~180 students admitted to each school per year
~3600 pharmacists qualify EVERY YEAR
~7000 people miss out on a place to study pharmacy EVERY YEAR
~ 12000 Community Pharmacies in the UK. TWELVE THOUSAND ACROSS THE UK.

So let's look at those figures ^ - Pharmacy schools are missing out on 7000 peoples' money every year. Do you think they will cull the amount of graduates, or do you think they will take more on in the future? Hmm, tough one, but I think they may try and capitalise on the losses here.

So, aside from the fact you have a fairly prosperous business model for taking on lots of pharmacy students each year, you have the fact that there is potential for bigger growth in the sector as well. You also have to consider that with about 18,000 extra qualified people looking to work as pharmacists in the UK every 5 years (the time it takes to do an MPharm + reg), coupled with the fact that jobs are already taken, and it stands to reason you will be lucky to find work in a good position with your pharmacy degree. You also have to pay attention to what the current working professionals are saying, which is automation of the industry, and the likelyhood that the number of pharmacist positions in the UK will considerably lower in the next few years with new streamlining measures in the NHS, and business-measures being adopted in the community.

Oh and of course, the figures above DO NOT include foreign pharmacists seeking work in the UK. Competition is too feirce without foreign pharmacists to consider.

Basically, if the current model keeps on this way, you're stuffed. But it's not looking like it will sttabilise, it's looking like it will churn out EVEN MORE graduates in the future because there are still 7000 people missing out on studying pharmacy every year. ALARM BELLS SHOULD BE RINGING. Something is seriously out of balance in this profession!! The majority of you graduates will not be able to work as pharmacists, and those of you who do manage to find work, will have no job security, poor working conditions, and about 100 people waiting to step in and take your job. Sounds like a nice career? Not to me!
1
reply
F1's Finest
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#19
Report 8 years ago
#19
(Original post by shapes)
So it would seem... It comes down to a basic supply and demand principle, as does anything where making money is concerned.

Some facts about pharmacy:

22 schools of pharmacy in the UK
~180 students admitted to each school per year
~3600 pharmacists qualify EVERY YEAR
~7000 people miss out on a place to study pharmacy EVERY YEAR
~ 12000 Community Pharmacies in the UK. TWELVE THOUSAND ACROSS THE UK.
lolwut, east anglia only admit around 110 students per year. but still 180 is the average
1
reply
i_chose_bongos
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#20
Report 8 years ago
#20
Is it really bad for pharmacists at the moment then? I'm looking to go do a second degree and pharmacy looks appealing because of the fairly low entry requirements and you can get paid like 30k-40k when you've got some exp. ? that sounds good enough for me... but is it true that there are way too many people with pharmacy degrees then? surely you'll get a job at some point if you keep looking hard enough!?
2
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you experienced financial difficulties as a student due to Covid-19?

Yes, I have really struggled financially (56)
17.28%
I have experienced some financial difficulties (92)
28.4%
I haven't experienced any financial difficulties and things have stayed the same (121)
37.35%
I have had better financial opportunities as a result of the pandemic (44)
13.58%
I've had another experience (let us know in the thread!) (11)
3.4%

Watched Threads

View All