How to avoid the pharmacy technician shortage
A lack of qualified pharmacists is one of the biggest challenges facing the health service in Ireland, with the number of pharmacy technicians at risk of closing as more doctors retire.
This is a fact that is reflected in the Department of Health’s figures, which show the number has reached a peak of about 50,000.
The figures also reveal that the number is projected to continue declining in the coming years.
In 2014-15, the number was about 28,000, but that figure was projected to drop to 17,000 by 2021-22, according to Department of Social Protection figures.
A further 16,000 were set to retire in 2020, with another 16,500 expected to leave by 2021.
It is understood that this is the final year for the current system of recruitment.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has also put the number at 25,000 but has said that it will take time to ramp up to the level needed to cope with the growing demand for medical services.
The number of vacancies in the health sector has been on the rise in recent years, with many hospitals struggling to find skilled and experienced personnel to fill vacancies.
The DAFM is expected to release a new National Strategy on Healthcare and Nursing on Monday.
A spokeswoman said the DAFL has a long-term plan to address the shortage of qualified pharmacist personnel, with an aim of attracting at least 500 new pharmacists to the sector by 2021, a number that is expected be at least double the number that have been recruited to date.
“As part of our plan, we are committed to ensuring that there is an adequate supply of qualified medical practitioners in the system to ensure the long-lasting health of our population,” she said.
“The DAFLM will continue to monitor the situation of pharmacists in Ireland as it evolves, but in the interim we are in discussions with the Minister for Health on the need for pharmacists.”
We are working with the Department to identify areas of collaboration that could support the health of the Irish population, and are in the process of finalising an agreement with the Daflrs for the recruitment of qualified physicians to the Irish pharmacists.
In 2016, the Department for Education said it had made “a significant investment” in the training of pharmacist apprentices, but only about a third of them are trained in the UK. “
We are in close contact with the PHRO regarding the needs of Irish pharmacistry, and we will ensure that any proposed agreement we reach with PHRO addresses the needs and expectations of pharmacistry in Ireland,” the spokesperson said.
In 2016, the Department for Education said it had made “a significant investment” in the training of pharmacist apprentices, but only about a third of them are trained in the UK.
The department also says there is no shortage of skilled medical workers in the United Kingdom.