I had an 11 year gap in practice and one of the big changes is the increase in the number of unqualified staff in management positions and, in some ways, the demotion of the pharmacist to what can only be regarded as "a legal necessity".
I was told last week that it was not unreasonable for a pharmacist to be able to check 600 prescriptions plus carry out two MURs a day and deal with NMS, counter queries, register entries etc. I work for 510 minutes a day so the checking etc has to be at the rate of less than one item a minute. I generally "cope" with this but quite a lot of pharmacists leave a lot of work to be picked up the next day and when I am one down in the dispensary not all runs as smoothly as I would like. But, if I am honest, I am not providing the sort of service I really want to and the area that is skimped on becomes the customer facing aspect of the job which is the one I like best.
I mention this because RPS is very interested in workplace pressures and this has been identified by the Board as a priority issue. If pharmacists are stretched like this there are a number of questions to be asked. The first is to ask whether it is safe? The second is to ask how on earth new services will fit into the equation. That's before you even start to think about whether best use is being made of the pharmacist's time and skills.
But this is not a matter for the RPS alone and the GPhC should be starting to define what is an acceptable and safe load for a community pharmacist. The PSNC should then be working to make sure that these standards are worked into the payment system.
I would be interested to hear the views of others on this subject so please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org