The survey had a high response rate of 69.6%. The key findings were:
- The Register increased by 1.7% between August 2007 and August 2008, which continues an upward trend since 1991;
- Pharmacists reported working the same number of hours on average as the 2005 census (35 hours), although men worked longer hours than women. The proportion of pharmacists working 49 hours or more per week increased by 1% since the previous census;
- There was an increase in the number of pharmacists working part-time, representing 32.3% of the working population. Part-time working, defined as 32 hours or less, was most prevalent in the primary care sector, with a total of 39.5%;
- Around 41.9% of pharmacists reported working long hours, and this figure rose to 52.2% for male pharmacists;
- Almost a third of pharmacists (30.3%) felt they did not have enough time to socialise outside of work, and a similar proportion (30.7%) wanted to reduce their working hours but felt they had no control;
- Male pharmacists perceived that they experienced more problems with a work-life balance than female pharmacists, apart from in the case of part-time work when the opposite was true;
- More than one in ten pharmacists (13.0%) are considering leaving the sector within the next two years, and a similar proportion (10.9%) are considering quitting the profession altogether.
The findings will be used to help inform workforce planning and policy development across the profession, under the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) which is to be established in 2010. The research was undertaken by a team at the School of Pharmacy, University of Manchester and funded by the Department of Health.
Further reading - A detailed review of the pharmaceutical market in the UK, including some background information on pharmacists, is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: United Kingdom (published June 2009)