HEE publishes community pharmacy workforce profile

HEE publishes community pharmacy workforce profile

June 18, 2018

Health Education England (HEE) has published the findings* of the Community Pharmacy Workforce Survey 2017, which was conducted in order to better understand the current numbers and skill-mix of the workforce and to help inform planning and future investment.

The survey enabled researchers to establish the size and profile of the community pharmacy workforce in England. Additionally, the data provided HEE with useful information on training priorities and identified variation across regions, particularly around issues such as vacancy rates and roles considered difficult to fill.

The HEE survey obtained data from 86% of England’s community pharmacies. Separate data collection exercises were undertaken for Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and non-CCA sector community pharmacies and the data was subsequently merged. The survey was first piloted in Kent, Surrey and Sussex in 2014, and further surveys were carried out in both the Thames Valley and London regions in 2015; HEE decided to complete the data collection for the rest of England in 2017.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • the community pharmacy workforce comprises a headcount figure of 96,506 people. This figure is comprised of the following:
    • 23,284 pharmacists
    • 7,901 registered pharmacy technicians
    • 27,510 trained dispensing assistants
    • 17,519 trained medicine counter assistants
  • the survey of non-CCA community pharmacies identified 547 pharmacists qualified as Independent Prescribers (excluding London and Thames Valley);
  • non-CCA pharmacies perceived the most benefit arising from training for “Supporting people with mental health issues” and “Independent Prescriber initial training”and the CCA training subjects were largely similar; and
  • on almost all roles, the vacancy rate is highest in London and tends to be higher than average across the whole South region, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and the East and Central Midlands areas within Midlands & East region. The exception to this pattern is for the role of Pharmacist, where London has one of the lowest vacancy rates.

HEE, working with NHS England, will use the survey feedback to further develop and inform education and training plans, identify potential shortfalls and potentially map community pharmacy availability against populations which have identified lower healthcare outcomes.

CCG level data

Community Pharmacy Aggregated Dataset on data.gov.uk

*HEE is due to publish the report and press release over the coming weeks which will discuss the findings in more detail.

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