HEE workforce survey results published

Health Education England (HEE) has published the results of the community pharmacy workforce survey undertaken in early 2021.

Download the 2021 workforce survey report

HEE, working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, commissioned the 2021 Community Pharmacy Workforce Survey across England to understand how the size and make-up of the community pharmacy workforce has changed since the last survey was conducted in 2017. It provides a snapshot of the community pharmacy workforce in spring 2021 and will help HEE and partners to inform future planning and investment decisions.

The survey includes information on the number of staff, the number of full-time equivalents (FTE) and any vacancies in each of ten staff categories employed in community pharmacy, including regular locums and relief pharmacists and, for the first time, delivery drivers.

This dataset enables community pharmacy workforce data to be included as part of wider system planning at integrated care system (ICS) level and it will also support HEE’s work to develop the whole pharmacy workforce.

HEE is working with stakeholders to repeat this data collection on an annual basis.

Commenting on the publication of the survey report, Alan Ryan, Director of National Transformational Programmes at HEE said:

“To create such a valuable data set reflects the commitment and co-operation of the community pharmacy workforce, including representative and professional bodies.

“We thank them for their time and effort in providing the relevant data at an exceptionally busy time. The outcome of the survey includes providing the commissioners and providers of community pharmacy services a valuable workforce data source, which can be accessed to support new ways of working across Integrated Care Systems and to inform professional development decisions.”

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC said:

“Over the last year contractors have been struggling with a range of workforce challenges which in many cases have had a major adverse impact on them and their teams. Some of the challenges have been related to the pandemic, but many result from the impact of a range of other factors within the sector and the wider labour market. The results of the survey provide a new foundation of data which can be used to support better workforce modelling and planning in the future.

“Since the survey was undertaken, reports from contractors suggest the staffing situation in many pharmacies has significantly worsened, which highlights the importance of this type of data being collected on a regular basis. LPCs and contractors have also said the challenge of filling vacancies varies across England and the survey results evidence this variation.

“Addressing the current workforce challenges requires a team approach across pharmacy, the NHS and Government; PSNC will continue to work with partners to tackle the problems contractors are suffering, but solutions to workforce shortages are generally implemented over the longer-term. Consequently in the immediate future, we will continue to seek to ensure the Government and NHS understands the issues contractors are facing and they apply this when making decisions which affect the sector.”


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