‘Ridiculous’ Red Tape contributing to shortage of young pharmacists


  • Excessive bureaucracy – a key barrier to attracting new entrants into the sector

12 May 2019: A shortage of community pharmacists could become a critical problem for Irish healthcare the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has warned. At the IPU’s National Pharmacy Conference this weekend, the burden of excessive bureaucracy and unnecessary regulation was identified as a major frustration, particularly for younger pharmacists.

Sheila O’ Loughlin, Pharmacist and member of the IPU Employee Pharmacy Committee (EPC), outlined some of the main findings of a new Behaviour & Attitudes report commissioned by the IPU, Perspectives of Community Pharmacy. “The report found that excessive red tape, bureaucracy and administration is one of the biggest drawbacks to a career in community pharmacy. The research shows that this is making it difficult to attract new graduates into the community pharmacy sector and to retain pharmacists in their current roles.

“The areas identified as the biggest concerns include the additional burden of dealing with the HSE PCRS and its attendant paperwork and the pressure of ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines.

“We all recognise the importance of checks and balances, and safety is something a pharmacist would never compromise. However, 98% of pharmacists state that they are required to spend too much time on paperwork, which means time away from our patients. Almost half of pharmacists now believe the sector is over-regulated which is creating constant pressure.

“Ireland produces some of the most qualified pharmacists in the world”, according to Ms O’ Loughlin, “and yet our system is content to consign them to a career of administration. Expert healthcare professionals are being hamstrung by meaningless paperwork and excessive bureaucracy.”

The impact upon the profession is becoming profound Ms. O’Loughlin continued. “Fewer and fewer pharmacists now say they would recommend community pharmacy to a student today. We are therefore calling on the Regulators, particularly the HSE PCRS and Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), to work with us to review and reduce the level of unnecessary bureaucracy foisted on community pharmacists.

“Doing so will signal a commitment to would-be community pharmacists, that their role does matter as a key professional in the healthcare service and not just a quasi-administrative role, which involves frustrating hours chasing paperwork and complying with unnecessary bureaucracy”, concluded Ms O’ Loughlin.

The IPU National Pharmacy Conference takes place this weekend in the Galmont Hotel, Galway (Friday until Sunday).