The COVID19 pandemic altered workers' relationships with their professional lives. Remote work for many industries became the norm whilst workers realised the importance of mananging their work-life balance and the flexibility needed to do this.

Nigel Swift, Managing Director of Rowlands Pharmacy, was recently interviewed by the pharmacy publication Chemist & Druggist. In his 18 months of being MD, he cited “workforce challenges” as the largest hurdle he had to overcome.

Within the interview, Swift speaks about the digtal advancements the UK's largest multiple is embracing from their "HeyPharmacy" app to the automation of pill dispensing. In terms of flexibility within pharmacy teams, Swift outlines how the pandemic led Rowlands to rethink how they recruit and retain pharmacy staff.

Demands on pharmacy teams during the pandemic

The pandemic placed high demand and pressure on pharmacy teams in all sectors including community, hospital, and primary care. There was an increased demand for pharmacy services, and due to pharmacy staff shortages, pharmacies across the UK were forced to close.

Under these conditions, the pharmacy job market has been filled with vacancies. Swift recognises this and states, “There are definitely more vacancies in pharmacy than I’ve ever seen in the 20 years I’ve been around across the UK.” This has caused Rowlands to “change how they're looking to recruit and mainly retain their colleagues in pharmacy.”

With this shortage of pharmacy staff, supply and demand within the market increased. For locum pharmacists, hourly rates were increasing to record-breaking levels as pharmacy managers and shift coordinators worked hard to avoid the high costs of store closures and the penalties these include.

Flexibility for pharmacists

"People want flexibility, and we have to bear that in mind constantly.” says Swift. “It can’t be now that we’re looking for full-time pharmacists, it’s got to be part-time. If someone wants to work two days a week, one day a week, we have to be there for that.”

This appreciation that pharmacists need flexibility in their role is what we have frequently said for locum pharmacists. We have published multiple blogs on our website focusing on the benefits of working as a locum and the recurring theme is greater flexibility and control of your professional and personal life.

With the Locate a Locum platform, you have access to a digital diary that allows you to plan your working schedule for months. The platform will never allow you to be double-booked so when you apply for multiple shifts and are accepted for one, the other applications are automatically removed from the pharmacy’s platform.

As a locum pharmacist, you can work as much as you want or as little. You can also locum alongside your permanent full-time role as a pharmacist we’ve put together this guide to help do this.

Benefits of locum pharmacist roles

In addition to greater flexibility within locum work, the other benefits include a higher salary and a varied range of work experience as you can be involved in differing specialisms within the pharmacy industry and can work with diverse teams based in the UK.

Get in contact

At Locate a Locum we offer locum jobs and permanent full time pharmacy roles. Our specialist recruitment team is available to discuss each of these employment types further if you require additional information. You can reach them here.

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Locate a Locum Team