Quitting the profession


Are you considering leaving the profession? Or will you stay in pharmacy? Vote in our poll

UK pharmacists are facing a rising number of threats to their business and career prospects.

Delegates at APP2016 heard an impassioned speech from Mark Burdon and Ian Strachan, chairman of the UK’s National Pharmacy Association explaining the potential impact – and the emotional cost – of the heavy funding cuts currently being proposed to pharmacy incomes.

The proposed 6% funding cuts are likely to see between 1000 and 3000 English pharmacies close, the National Pharmacy Association claims.

Strachan said that the scope and scale of the changes are so huge that UK pharmacy should have at least been consulted, rather than receiving an open letter which outlined an intended done deal. Pharmacy has solutions, he says, and is in a far better position to manage volume and therefore cost.

“The Government has got the arrogance to try and rip up a profession… This is what this is about, it’s about breaking up a profession.”

This is rooted in ideology and a desire for automation and digitisation, Strachan says.

The cuts are “an attack on the owner model,” he says and effectively attempt to sever service from supply.

A recent feature article in UK pharmacy magazine Chemist + Druggist examined the attitudes of a range of pharmacists to their possible future within or outside pharmacy.

Independent pharmacist Renee Barai is one that says she is staying put.

She says that pharmacists can offer patients services that no other healthcare professional can, such as medicines optimisation and over-the-counter advice.

For her, “this makes pharmacists an invaluable part of the health service” – something she feels the profession is too slow to shout about. “All of us do a great job,” she says.

Are you considering leaving pharmacy?

Previous 'Patient-friendly' Rotary bowel screening test to hit counters
Next PDL Update

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.



    why would anyone stay when pays are dismal, you would rather be a shelf stacker and not have any risk of getting sued.

  2. Brett MacFarlane

    What do those pharmacists contemplating leaving the profession plan on doing next??

    • One foot out

      Helping others. I believe that pharmacists are caring people. I volunteer my time to help oldies.

    • Someguy


    • David Haworth

      Tending bar in the Bowlo.. same customers, no lick and stick 🙂

      • JimT

        have been working in a bottle shop for the past few months……much fitter now and up to date with the NRL gossip 🙂

    • Ash

      Im in my final year of medicine – worked in pharmacy for 5 years and saw it going downhill. It’s sad how poorly retail pharmacy is thought of and it is an abysmal career choice. If I went back to customer service I would only be earning $2-3 less per hour than a pharmacist – but would be bored to tears.

    • Vicky

      Most of my friends have gone on to study medicine. One friend has gone on to become a dentist and another aerospace engineering!

      • sun has long set on pharmacy

        Do you know that medicine and dentistry and like most other health care profession are next? they are heading the same direction like Pharmacy ie. going down.
        I always recommend to stay away from any health related profession as they all are having the same doom as pharmacy – a wast of effort, time and money to study to end up jobless or slaving for your commission, struggling to find descent full time job only casual position to keep your head above the waves.

    • Kevin Hayward

      I moved into adult education, same pay, much better conditions

    • Tanya

      I left pharmacy after 15 years to work in accounts at a firm. As a mum of three I can now actually work school hours and get paid a higher wage than as a pharmacist- without the stress and extreme demands. I have worked mostly unpaid in pharmacy for the past 4 years just to obtain the practice hours required for re-registering. Not anymore! I loved being a pharmacist but the opportunities are so narrow and paid work difficult to find for working mums.

    • mary hasouros

      Customer Service in an engineering firm – bookkeeping duties. I completed Cert IV in bookkeeping last year/ For all the benefits & reasons others have posted.

  3. One foot out

    Pharmacy. Which makes us specialists in making and using pharmaceutical products are now taken away from us. Making us retailers instead. So in all ways. We are starting to be irrelevant and obsolete.

  4. Tricia


  5. Jenny

    I quit pharmacy after working in retail and hospital extensively for the last tens years. Pay was bad, workload was phenomenal and the future of this profession is non-existent! I am now working at a computer software company as a clinical application specialist and earning the same if not more considering there are no weekends, on-calls, late nights and public holiday! I get to spend time with my family and friends and don’t need to go home to stress the million decisions I made on the day which might have resulted in a near misses or an incident report due to some micromanagement and bureaucratic bullcrap.

    • Jenny

      PS – I forgot to add I couldn’t be happier! 🙂 Leaving pharmacy was the best decision I have ever made!!!!

      • Penny Kraemer

        Jenny, did you need to have any IT experience or qualifications to get that job?

        • Jenny

          No, I don’t have any IT qualifications but just interested in IT and been working as a computer technician when living on campus studying B. Pharm.

      • Kay Tee

        You’re not me, but reading your comment, I felt like I was reading something I had written myself. I’ve only worked for 6 years in retail/hospital pharmacy however, and now interning in clinical software at IT company. I don’t miss the incident reporting/micromanagement either…

        • Jenny

          Yeah Kay, I am happy to hear that you have quit the industry too. My stress level has gone from 1000% daily to zero! Life is too short to be unhappy!

  6. Pharmasista

    Long hours, stressful work, everpresent threat of legal issues or management repercussions for decisions made in patients’ interests and not on financial ones and the MASSIVE workload!!! As a single pharmacist I dispense anywhere from 150-350 scripts per day, no lunch break or rest breaks, sign and witness documents to ungrateful customers, wrangle codeine/pseudo sales, try to explain the ‘i cant even buy that medicine for the price they sell it for’ situation daily, leaving little time to counsel and enjoy being a community pharmacist. And yet we are supposed to be the caring profession…there’s no time! Add on the price disclosure situation and really, it makes you want to give it all up. The only thing stopping me is knowing that the ‘cheap’ pharmacies will then win, and where will that leave the customer who needs a chat, needs driving home because they’re confused, needs someone to take their bp and explain what its all about, needs someone to notice the constant injuries from ‘walking into doors’? Its a really sad time for the profession and for those of us who love what we do but cannot see a sustainable future in it anymore.

    • Scoz

      Exactly! You’re bang on.

    • kel

      I agree 100% you have just described my day, every day. It’s the grateful customers whose days are made better by the efforts put in by you and your staff that make you keep coming back.

    • Ahmed Zeidan

      Couldn’t agree more!

  7. JimT

    yes and maybe’s currently at 82%!!!!!! Something is very wrong……

  8. Scoz

    I’ve just come over to the UK on a working holiday because I needed a break from Pharmacy life. The profession is already dying, and the government is gutting it further. I made the decision to take a break just before I heard about the $1 pharmacy subsidy being introduced, and it reinforced that I’d made the right decision. When I come back to Australia, I’ll do all I can before I have to re-enter the profession.

    • Scoz

      The worst part was knowing how to talk to my interns and students (many of whom were friends). I wanted to mentor and encourage them as much as I could, yet at the same time tell them to get into something else as soon as possible because I didn’t want the same future for them.

      • London Newby

        Hi Scoz!

        Out of curiosity, what are you doing in the UK? Just moved myself and have found it ridiculously difficult to get a job in pharmacy! The beurocracy is intense over here!! I thought I was coming over for a break from Pharm too but found it hard to get a job doing what I know!

        • Scoz

          Hey there! Congrats on the move. I have had similar struggles in Edinburgh. We can’t register as pharmacists without a two-year bridging process (a joke in itself, but I suspect you’ve already discovered this), and even technicians need to have a qualification and be registered. I can tell you more about this process if you haven’t done the research already.

          Unless you can find an employer who is happy to unofficially recognise your qualifications and get you doing more and pay you a little more, you’re basically looking at Pharmacy Assistant work – shop assistant work at minimum wage. I decided that if I was going to be working for minimum wage I’d look for something else – admin/hospitality/whatever – just so I could at least learn some new skills from the experience. I’d feel exploited being paid minimum wage for something I’d been doing for over ten years! So I have a reception job for the time being.

  9. Frank

    Yes, I’m now a doctor and thank my lucky stars i got out of the abyss which is Australian pharmacy. I will declare too that I also owned a small pharmacy but having worked day and night to pay it off, watched the value of my asset erode before my eyes whilst deep discounters and the slash and burning of the PBS stripped the bottom line without me having to lift a finger to assist the decay. Now my colleague employs a fantastic secretary for he GP surgery at $40/hr – the same hourly rate my pharmacist colleagues are currently paid. Go figure.

  10. Man

    No comments from the guild spokesman! This only cements the truth, the profession is going down the toilet. The organizations that represent pharmacy should see that this survey isn’t only a survey, it represents the extinction of the profession. The guild/government and their members should know they got their wish! everyone’s leaving the party. they can hire kids to run their shops

    • United we stand

      Pharmacy News and PSA have completely ignored this poll even though over 1000 people replied in less than 4 days!

Leave a reply