Join the DDA or

Medicine supply issues highlighted in annual pharmacy pressures survey

Pharmacies report increased workload and patient aggression

April 14th 2023

Tagged: DM Zone news Pharmacy owners' news

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Medicines supply issues are prevalent in 92 per cent of pharmacies, a survey of the profession has found.

The annual look at pressures in pharmacy found that daily supply issues had increased by more than a third during the year.

Almost all pharmacy owners (97 per cent) reported significant increases in wholesaler and medicine supply issues, with 71 per cent saying this was leading to delays in prescriptions being issued. Some 84 per cent of respondent pharmacies said they had experienced aggression from patients as a result.

Most pharmacy staff (81 per cent) said they were struggling to cope due to a significant rise in workload, to the detriment of their mental health and wellbeing.

One in five pharmacies responding to the 2022 survey reported unplanned closures due to staff shortages.

Additionally in this year’s survey:

  • 73 per cent of pharmacy owners said that prescriptions take longer to dispense.
  • 81 per cent said they were unable to spend as much time with patients.
  • Over three-quarters (76 per cent) said the promptness with which their pharmacies could respond to patient queries by phone or email was affected.

Respondents were also asked about the types of patient requests that they have been receiving, and the following have all increased significantly in the last three months:

  • Help with symptoms for both serious (81 per cent) and minor conditions (96 per cent)
  • Help with long term conditions (78 per cent)
  • Help with prescription ordering (74 per cent)
  • Help with diagnostics and monitoring (66 per cent)
  • Advice on menopause and HRT (81 per cent)
  • Advice or requests for antibiotics (91 per cent)

The survey by pharmacy negotiator the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee sought the views of 6,200 pharmacy premises and 2,000 pharmacy team members and highlighted concerns over funding.   Almost eight in ten respondents (78 per cent) said they were now extremely concerned about their business finances.

Commenting, PSNC Chief Executive Janet Morrison said the results reflect the extreme levels of stress that pharmacy teams and businesses are currently experiencing. She has called for urgent funding to help address some of the pressures and to protect patient services and access to medicines.