- More action will be required to prevent a growing shortage of pharmacists.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has given a cautious welcome to reports that there is to be an increase in the number of places available for pharmacy from the next academic year. However, the IPU has said that Ireland needs to significantly increase the number of spaces as the country can no longer credibly be reliant on overseas training for pharmacists.
The IPU has been highlighting Ireland’s growing shortage of pharmacists for several years. The profession was added to the country’s Critical Skills Occupation List in the Spring of 2022, and it is now reported that an additional 25 places will be made available this year.
Speaking about the reported increase in places IPU Chair of the PCC Committee Kathy Maher said, “Any increase in the amount of training places for pharmacists is to be welcomed. However, an increase of 25 per year is a drop in the ocean compared to what is required. We continue to call on the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD to prioritise pharmacy education. As Ireland moves towards a model of increased community-based healthcare it is essential that we are growing the number of pharmacists to deliver on our sectors potential.”
“In addition to the need to train more pharmacists to prepare for the future there is a pressing need to deal with the shortages today. Many pharmacist vacancies are going unfilled, and this can only have a negative impact on patient experience. With a growing and ageing population, we estimate there is a significant shortfall of pharmacists working in the sector. One short term action we would like is to make it as easy as possible for pharmacists from non-EU countries to relocate and work in Ireland.”