Future of Pharmacy?

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ashvinsingh
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#1
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#1
I’m a year 13 student applying for pharmacy, but There’s countless posts on here about how pharmacy is a dying profession and should be avoided. I thought the NHS long term health plan + IP being added to the foundation year would help this? I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on pharmacy and the different types of pharmacy (community, hospital, GP etc)
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fimop62975
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See this thread https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=3930485
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ashvinsingh
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Yeah that thread was really hard to read when I saw it, I know this is the current situation of pharmacy but I thought the future looked good with the new plans by the NHS? Would you reccomend me to decline my 5 offers and apply for optometry?
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fimop62975
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I have worked in pharmacy for 20 years and nephews were asking me the same question. I told ALL of them NOT to do pharmacy unless they were really INTO it. When I did my pharmacy degree there were no tuition fees , and better career prospects, but if I was faced with the choice now, I would not want to pay £40k in tuition fees to do it. It is very saturated and a dying profession, wages are going down, sweat shop like conditions in community pharmacy where 75% of pharmacists end up working.

NHS long term plan is a joke. There have been many plans over the past 20 years for pharmacy, all have flopped. The new plan is get pharmacists into GP practices which may sound good, but you take on a massive responsibility in a very grey area of clinical practice for £36,000/yr (which you can get in community for basically being an checking technician which is very low risk) so the risks of patient harm are huge and they pay not enough to compensate. Many pharmacists are doing it though because it's better than the sweat shop conditions in community pharmacy. I too am working in GP practice but it's not all it's cracked up to be, it's a bit of a sweat shop in a different way - you have to do a certain amount of work per day, it's monitored, there's targets, patinets complain ..a lot when they don't get what they want, everyone refers all the rubbish stuff to you if it is slightly related to medicines (including the GPs). If you have IP, you will get pushed to prescribe in areas you don't know about/outside your scope because you're a cheaper prescriber than GPs, which is VERY HIGH risk, but I'm sure many newly qualified will do it willingly for the extra £1-2/hour on the locum rate even if they are not pushed into it.

Think about it very carefully, as the number of places doing pharmacy has doubled since I did it, now pharmacists are just being churned out by these new uni's who are hungry for tuition fees. This churning out will continue and if it's saturated now, what do you think it will be like in 5 years time when you qualify????? If I was in your position now, I would do optom every day of the week.
Last edited by fimop62975; 4 months ago
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quasa
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(Original post by ashvinsingh)
Yeah that thread was really hard to read when I saw it, I know this is the current situation of pharmacy but I thought the future looked good with the new plans by the NHS? Would you reccomend me to decline my 5 offers and apply for optometry?
Truth is optometry and dentistry are starting to head the way of pharmacy. If you have the grades for medicine, go that route, otherwise go for something like compsci or a finance degree
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ChillBear
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(Original post by ashvinsingh)
I’m a year 13 student applying for pharmacy, but There’s countless posts on here about how pharmacy is a dying profession and should be avoided. I thought the NHS long term health plan + IP being added to the foundation year would help this? I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on pharmacy and the different types of pharmacy (community, hospital, GP etc)
I mean the trouble is that pharmacy is less attractive than it used to be. When I say used to be that's 20+ years ago as it's been downhill for that long.

There was a time you could do Pharmacy without paying tuition fees and you were earning £40k a year. 20 years of inflation later, now you have upwards of £40k+ of student debt after graduating and you're still earning only £40k a year. It's tragic to think that pay for such a highly qualified profession has been neglected and allowed to fall so far behind inflation.

A £40,000 salary in the year 2000 is equivalent to £62,000 today. You'd be one of the high percentile pharmacists to be earning a wage like that now but the truth is the majority of pharmacists are on £40,000 a year today. That's what happens when there's no union or voice championing for pay increases. On the flip side you look at the NHS and they have annual salary increases.

Hopefully things will start changing with the PDA representing Boots and Lloyds community pharmacists.

I also want to mention that the grass is not necessarily greener in other healthcare professions. For example, there's very similar threads in the Dentistry and Optometry forums about poor working conditions and pay. But the truth is they get paid more than pharmacists, so if you're going into a job with poor prospects it's at least better to go for the one that pays more like optometry.

I will end by saying if I stayed in community pharmacy for much longer I would be very unhappy. I managed to enter GP and possibly lucked out on my position, but it is very comfy and I enjoy it. The work pace is many times less stressful than CP, my pay is almost 50% higher than in CP, I have NHS pension and annual salary increases, and 5 weeks + 2 days of holiday. I think despite the negativity everywhere it's possible to find pockets where you'll have good job satisfaction.
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ashvinsingh
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#7
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(Original post by ChillBear)
I mean the trouble is that pharmacy is less attractive than it used to be. When I say used to be that's 20+ years ago as it's been downhill for that long.

There was a time you could do Pharmacy without paying tuition fees and you were earning £40k a year. 20 years of inflation later, now you have upwards of £40k+ of student debt after graduating and you're still earning only £40k a year. It's tragic to think that pay for such a highly qualified profession has been neglected and allowed to fall so far behind inflation.

A £40,000 salary in the year 2000 is equivalent to £62,000 today. You'd be one of the high percentile pharmacists to be earning a wage like that now but the truth is the majority of pharmacists are on £40,000 a year today. That's what happens when there's no union or voice championing for pay increases. On the flip side you look at the NHS and they have annual salary increases.

Hopefully things will start changing with the PDA representing Boots and Lloyds community pharmacists.

I also want to mention that the grass is not necessarily greener in other healthcare professions. For example, there's very similar threads in the Dentistry and Optometry forums about poor working conditions and pay. But the truth is they get paid more than pharmacists, so if you're going into a job with poor prospects it's at least better to go for the one that pays more like optometry.

I will end by saying if I stayed in community pharmacy for much longer I would be very unhappy. I managed to enter GP and possibly lucked out on my position, but it is very comfy and I enjoy it. The work pace is many times less stressful than CP, my pay is almost 50% higher than in CP, I have NHS pension and annual salary increases, and 5 weeks + 2 days of holiday. I think despite the negativity everywhere it's possible to find pockets where you'll have good job satisfaction.
(Original post by fimop62975)
I have worked in pharmacy for 20 years and nephews were asking me the same question. I told ALL of them NOT to do pharmacy unless they were really INTO it. When I did my pharmacy degree there were no tuition fees , and better career prospects, but if I was faced with the choice now, I would not want to pay £40k in tuition fees to do it. It is very saturated and a dying profession, wages are going down, sweat shop like conditions in community pharmacy where 75% of pharmacists end up working.

NHS long term plan is a joke. There have been many plans over the past 20 years for pharmacy, all have flopped. The new plan is get pharmacists into GP practices which may sound good, but you take on a massive responsibility in a very grey area of clinical practice for £36,000/yr (which you can get in community for basically being an checking technician which is very low risk) so the risks of patient harm are huge and they pay not enough to compensate. Many pharmacists are doing it though because it's better than the sweat shop conditions in community pharmacy. I too am working in GP practice but it's not all it's cracked up to be, it's a bit of a sweat shop in a different way - you have to do a certain amount of work per day, it's monitored, there's targets, patinets complain ..a lot when they don't get what they want, everyone refers all the rubbish stuff to you if it is slightly related to medicines (including the GPs). If you have IP, you will get pushed to prescribe in areas you don't know about/outside your scope because you're a cheaper prescriber than GPs, which is VERY HIGH risk, but I'm sure many newly qualified will do it willingly for the extra £1-2/hour on the locum rate even if they are not pushed into it.

Think about it very carefully, as the number of places doing pharmacy has doubled since I did it, now pharmacists are just being churned out by these new uni's who are hungry for tuition fees. This churning out will continue and if it's saturated now, what do you think it will be like in 5 years time when you qualify????? If I was in your position now, I would do optom every day of the week.
I considered medicine before but decided on pharmacy due to how big an effect medication has on my life, for me it’s really interesting studying organic chemistry so I have no regrets about the degree. For the job prospects I’m hoping to get a hospital placement but I do understand they are competitive, but I’d be looking to work in the north anyway as I’m around the leeds area so hoped that would be less competitive. What are your thoughts on hospital pharmacy? Clinical community pharmacy also appeals to me, I work in a post office atm and like talking to customers, but the job security worries me.
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ashvinsingh
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(Original post by quasa)
Truth is optometry and dentistry are starting to head the way of pharmacy. If you have the grades for medicine, go that route, otherwise go for something like compsci or a finance degree
The issue is I don’t have a passion for medicine, my passion is pharmacy learning about organic chemistry and being customer facing. Does hospital pharmacy have good career prospects? As it is the area id want to go down.
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username5832083
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(Original post by ashvinsingh)
The issue is I don’t have a passion for medicine, my passion is pharmacy learning about organic chemistry and being customer facing. Does hospital pharmacy have good career prospects? As it is the area id want to go down.
A chemistry degree would've been a good option too. Pharmaceutical science might be a good option but you'll have to hear from the posters above.
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ashvinsingh
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(Original post by Aspstudent)
A chemistry degree would've been a good option too. Pharmaceutical science might be a good option but you'll have to hear from the posters above.
My dad did a chemistry degree but told me not to do it as there’s not the best of graduate prospects, and I’d want to be people facing I think
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fimop62975
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(Original post by ashvinsingh)
I considered medicine before but decided on pharmacy due to how big an effect medication has on my life, for me it’s really interesting studying organic chemistry so I have no regrets about the degree. For the job prospects I’m hoping to get a hospital placement but I do understand they are competitive, but I’d be looking to work in the north anyway as I’m around the leeds area so hoped that would be less competitive. What are your thoughts on hospital pharmacy? Clinical community pharmacy also appeals to me, I work in a post office atm and like talking to customers, but the job security worries me.
What effect does medication have on your life??? You don't have to answer but I would think that's not a good reason for doing pharmacy. You have to think long term about it as you'll be doing it for rest for your working life.

The West Yorks area is packed with pharmacists! There used to be just Bradford and Manchester a but further away, and then Hudds and UCLAN started offering pharmacy so it's saturated with pharmacists in West York's. West yorks also has a high asian population and a lot of them did pharmacy if they couldn't do medicine.

Hospital pharmacy is getting very hard to get pre-reg and the junior posts, I used to work in hospital pharmacy and recruit. Back in 2000 we could hardly get any response to junior posts, now we get 20+ applicants to these same jobs and have to close them early. One of the reasons is the drop in pay in comm pharmacy and poor working conditions. But all that does is have this knock on effect in hospital pharmacy so now you are no longer valued by hospital employers/pharmacy managers who have started treating hospital pharamcists badly too. It's all about supply and demand and when the supply goes up, employers can then mistreat employees and get away with it so pay goes down and working conditions get worse. You either accept it, or have to accept it as there is no where else to go. Oversupply benefits the Uni's, banks, big chains, govt, NHS, as it lowers wages and conditions, the pharmacist is the big loser from all this which no one cares about so don't expect this to get any better. With increasing tech, robot dispensing, amazon pharmacy starting up, this is just going to get worse.
Last edited by fimop62975; 4 months ago
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ashvinsingh
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(Original post by fimop62975)
What effect does medication have on your life??? You don't have to answer but I would think that's not a good reason for doing pharmacy. You have to think long term about it as you'll be doing it for rest for your working life.

The West Yorks area is packed with pharmacists! There used to be just Bradford and Manchester a but further away, and then Hudds and UCLAN started offering pharmacy so it's saturated with pharmacists in West York's. West yorks also has a high asian population and a lot of them did pharmacy if they couldn't do medicine.

Hospital pharmacy is getting very hard to get pre-reg and the junior posts, I used to work in hospital pharmacy and recruit. Back in 2000 we could hardly get any response to junior posts, now we get 20+ applicants to these same jobs and have to close them early. One of the reasons is the drop in pay in comm pharmacy and poor working conditions. But all that does is have this knock on effect in hospital pharmacy so now you are no longer valued by hospital employers/pharmacy managers who have started treating hospital pharamcists badly too. It's all about supply and demand and when the supply goes up, employers can then mistreat employees and get away with it so pay goes down and working conditions get worse. You either accept it, or have to accept it as there is no where else to go. Oversupply benefits the Uni's, banks, big chains, govt, NHS, as it lowers wages and conditions, the pharmacist is the big loser from all this which no one cares about so don't expect this to get any better. With increasing tech, robot dispensing, amazon pharmacy starting up, this is just going to get worse.
Asthma and a chronic illness I take medication for, it’s not the sole reason, but it made me more interested in pharmacy due to already liking organic chemistry. I work part time as a cashier and I enjoy it however I don’t enjoy selling cigarettes and other harmful products to people, pharmacy seemed like I’d be able to help people and enjoy my job at the same time.
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Claremont4ever
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Pharmacy is a glorious healthcare profession as long as you are flexible and happy to relocate to any part of the UK. I can only speak of the NE, you can earn upwards of £60,000/year as a community pharmacist. The vacancies are everywhere. However, the job of a CP is very stressful and it's not for everyone. If you are happy to work in high stress situations, you will enjoy the job and make loads of money. You can pay off your mortgage in 5 years and retire early as a pharmacist just working a day a week.

If you listen to all the negativity regarding healthcare careers on here, you will never make any progress in your career. I was like you many years ago. I came here for advice and was strongly adviced not to study pharmacy. I ignored the advice, studied and qualified. My self-assessment earnings 2021/22 was just shy of £80,000.

I play golf every weekend with fellow pharmacists earning big money and living the dream. None of the pharmacists I work and play with have the time to come on here to listen to people moan about their careers.
Last edited by Claremont4ever; 4 months ago
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fimop62975
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(Original post by Claremont4ever)
Pharmacy is a glorious healthcare profession as long as you are flexible and happy to relocate to any part of the UK. I can only speak of the NE, you can earn upwards of £60,000/year as a community pharmacist.
This is fine when you are single, but it is not realistic to relocate when you have a wife and children which will be the case for most of a persons life, so at that point you basically have to work within a reasonable distance and accept whatever rate the employer is offering you ...or you/your children go hungry.

Can I come and shadow you Claremont?? I am going to be free in a month or two and would like to see how you manage to do it all.
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quasa
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(Original post by ashvinsingh)
The issue is I don’t have a passion for medicine, my passion is pharmacy learning about organic chemistry and being customer facing. Does hospital pharmacy have good career prospects? As it is the area id want to go down.
Career prospects in hospital... Tricky. If your in a foundation trust, you get better training however career progression can take ages in hospital, which is why so many have jumped ship to primary care. Some sectors in hospital are pretty good and can pay 8a /8b but to go higher than that involves loads of workplace politics.

Also avoid working in an outpatient department for experience as its essentially the worst aspects of community but with hand written prescriptions instead of electronic like in primary care.
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manchego
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(Original post by fimop62975)
This is fine when you are single, but it is not realistic to relocate when you have a wife and children which will be the case for most of a persons life, so at that point you basically have to work within a reasonable distance and accept whatever rate the employer is offering you ...or you/your children go hungry.

Can I come and shadow you Claremont?? I am going to be free in a month or two and would like to see how you manage to do it all.
Claremont is over 40 years old and only recently qualified in the UK. Its interesting they keep going on about how they work 48- 60 hours a week but they don't talk about the impact it has on their personal life. The fact they even say that people earning what they do don't spend time whinging on this site to me sounds like they're trolling and some of their comments on this site have suggest career frustration / wanting to do something else
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Sarah H.
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(Original post by manchego)
Claremont is over 40 years old and only recently qualified in the UK. Its interesting they keep going on about how they work 48- 60 hours a week but they don't talk about the impact it has on their personal life. The fact they even say that people earning what they do don't spend time whinging on this site to me sounds like they're trolling and some of their comments on this site have suggest career frustration / wanting to do something else
As a community pharmacist in the North East for nearly 40 years I can assure prospective pharmacy students that the vision (and pay) of pharmacy painted by this Claremont are unrecognisable to 99% of community pharmacists.
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fimop62975
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Hopefully Claremont won't feature on something like this and his/her posts about excessive hours worked won't be used against him/her https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgEnWGfCnTg
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ashvinsingh
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(Original post by Sarah H.)
As a community pharmacist in the North East for nearly 40 years I can assure prospective pharmacy students that the vision (and pay) of pharmacy painted by this Claremont are unrecognisable to 99% of community pharmacists.
What is your vision of pharmacy? I’ve got all my offers back but if I’m going to end up in a job with 0 career progression and satisfaction I’d have second thoughts about it
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ashvinsingh
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(Original post by quasa)
Career prospects in hospital... Tricky. If your in a foundation trust, you get better training however career progression can take ages in hospital, which is why so many have jumped ship to primary care. Some sectors in hospital are pretty good and can pay 8a /8b but to go higher than that involves loads of workplace politics.

Also avoid working in an outpatient department for experience as its essentially the worst aspects of community but with hand written prescriptions instead of electronic like in primary care.
What sector in pharmacy would you view as ‘better’? I find pharmacy interesting and mental health or acute pharmacy in hospital setting are some of the things I’d consider to specialise in.
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