Four-fifths of employee pharmacists are experiencing workplace stress, new UK data shows
The C+D Salary Survey 2017, conducted by UK pharmacy magazine Chemist + Druggist, included input from 722 branch managers and second or non-manager community pharmacists.
It found that 80% say they are stressed at work, citing pressure from management and higher workloads as issues which concern them. This was an increase of 6% since 2015.
The problem appears to be worst for pharmacists who work for the three biggest multiple pharmacy chains: the percentage of stressed pharmacists there remains stable at 82%.
But those employed by smaller chains and independents are catching up to them – and fast. The C+D data shows an 11% jump in the proportion of these pharmacists who report feeling stressed at work, to 78%.
Pressure from management emerged as a significant problem. Three-quarters of those at the large multiples said this was a problem, compared to 40% of those at independents or small chains; overall this equated to 60% of pharmacists feeling the pressure from above.
And 40% of those working at the multiples had experienced “intimidation” from management, compared to 14% of those at independent pharmacies.
Over a third – 36% – of those at big multiples reported suffering from depression, compared to 23% at independents.
Increased paperwork is also a problem, affecting 64% of all who responded to the survey.
C+D reports that it was told by employee pharmacists that panic attacks, palpitations and tension headache had resulted from workplace stress.
The issue of workplace pressure in the pharmacy sector has been raised several times of late, including in October 2017 when the death by suicide of a promising young pharmacist was discussed in British Parliament and better protections called for.
The pharmacist’s parents told their MP that they believed the long hours she worked and her high workload contributed to her death.
And last year a Guardian expose alleged that management pressure on pharmacists at Boots stores saw them expected to hit targets for medicines use reviews rather than concentrating on caring for patients.
Workplace stress is also a significant problem for Australian pharmacists, a survey released in August 2017 revealed: pharmacists suffer from similarly high levels of stress to other health professionals such as doctors and nurses.
This survey found that only 30% of pharmacists were satisfied with their workload, and only 42% with their workplace environment.
Half of respondents had seen behaviours in other pharmacists that departed from accepted professional standards, and 26% said they were expected to practice as a pharmacist in a manner which is a departure from accepted professional standards, causing stress.
Readers who are distressed can contact the Pharmacists’ Support Service on 1300 244 910.