Workplace Pressures survey - results

Hospital pharmacists

Following the ongoing debate across the profession, the Scottish Directorate designed and promoted a survey on the various issues that may have been contributing to workforce pressures in pharmacies in Scotland. The survey was live between the end of February to the end of March and available on the society website. The survey was promoted by direct emails to members in Scotland, in the Scottish section of e-news and on the SPB pages of the Society website. 459 pharmacists in Scotland responded.

The overall impression given by the results is that those who responded believe that there is a great deal of workforce issues now troubling the profession. Decriminalisation of single dispensing errors remains the most severe issue in terms of strength of feeling. Another overall conclusion was the variation in strength of feeling on different issues from different sectors. Strength of feeling on an issue from one sector was unlikely to be matched by a similar strength of feeling from other sectors. For example issues such as ‘diversity of new services resulting in excessive workload’ and ‘poor levels of administrative and technical support causing difficulties’, both scored highly. However, these issues were mainly of importance for pharmacists employed in large multiples and locums in community pharmacies. It scored far less highly for pharmacists in the hospital sector. 

Looking at the community pharmacy in particular, it seems the smaller the company the pharmacist works for the less workforce pressures they are troubled by. This seems true for issues such as staffing levels, support from management and conflicts between professional practises versus commercial pressures. The pharmacists most likely to feel under pressure from poorly working technology are more likely to work in large multiples in the community sector. 

Locums appear to be particularly stressed. They were the most likely to feel they hadn’t enough time  for CPD, insufficient support staff, pressure not to take a break and the difficulties of getting to grips with new services and technologies. 

Hospital pharmacists are concerned about there not being enough pharmacists in their sector. They are also the most likely to be happy with their pay and more worried about commercial pressures intruding on good professional practise.  

It should be noted that the respondents to this survey were disproportionately from the community sector and from the health boards covering the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas.  Female participation made up nearly three quarters of the results as well. The survey was successful in engaging younger pharmacists, with roughly a quarter being under 35.

A full range of tables showing the details of the survey have been created by the Scottish Directorate - view the full results here.