Pharmacists are a vital workforce in the healthcare sector due to their specific skills and knowledge. However, they are now in low supply in the UK which explains why pharmacists are highly in demand. The government has now paved the way for foreign-trained pharmacists to immigrate to the UK as a pharmacist and pursue their careers.
Furthermore, pharmacists help to improve people’s lives by delivering safe drugs and quality healthcare advice. And the government has included this career on the list of shortage occupations for immigration reasons. While job prospects for pharmacists may not be what they were years ago, current studies have shown that it’s a career that will continue to expand.
Now that the country has included additional healthcare occupations to the Shortage Occupation List, foreign-trained pharmacists can easily immigrate to the UK as pharmacists. According to a report, over 80 percent of pharmacy graduates can secure jobs in the UK six months after graduation. This implies that if you’re studying pharmacy, you have a good chance of getting a job.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to study and immigrate to the UK as a pharmacist, the required qualifications, and working conditions. Also, we will touch on some of the challenges and opportunities for foreign pharmacists in the UK. So, let’s dive in!
Job Prospects for Pharmacists in the UK
As a pharmacist, you can work in the following areas. These include:
- Neighborhood pharmacies.
- Services for mental health.
- As well as primary healthcare.
- The pharmaceutical businesses.
Requirements and Skills of Pharmacists in the UK
- They must be diligent and pay attention to details.
- Pharmacists must also have the ability to accept criticism and work effectively under stress.
- Furthermore, they must be sensitive to patients and be able to comprehend.
- Be perfect in customer service.
- Pharmacists must also be patient with their clients and remain calm even under pressure.
- Have a great understanding of mathematics.
- Be an extraordinary speaker.
- Have English reading skills.
- Lastly, pharmacists must be knowledgeable in the use of a computer and the major software packages.
The Working Conditions of a Pharmacist
Oftentimes, pharmacists get employment opportunities in retail drugstores or healthcare facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, or mental health institutes. Meanwhile, their workspace is like a small laboratory in terms of cleanliness, organization, lighting, and ventilation. Most times, they are on their feet attending to customers or patients.
Furthermore, their task may be demanding intellectually due to the hundreds of medications in the medical armory. Even at that, they must stay current on the new treatments launched each year. Their job roles require accuracy and practice of serious caution when handling and storing medications and chemicals.
When working with sterile or hazardous pharmaceutical items, you must use gloves, masks, and other specific protection equipment, as a pharmacist. You may work for a 40-hour week, although there are part-time and on-call positions available. In addition, you can also work on evenings, weekends, nights, and holidays, especially if it’s a 24/7 facility.
Pharmacists may visit nursing homes or other institutions to supervise patients’ medication regimens. As a self-employed pharmacist, you may work for over 40 hours each week.
Becoming a Pharmacist in the UK
If you want to study and become a pharmacist in the UK, there are some steps you must follow. Read on!
1. Undergraduate Degree
Complete a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree. This is a 4-year full-time course that is accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).
2. Pre-registration Training
After your MPharm, you’ll have to enroll for a one-year pre-registration training placement in a community pharmacy or hospital setting. Meanwhile, during this time, you will acquire practical experience under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist.
3. Registration Exam
After completing your pre-registration year, you must pass the GPhC registration assessment, a national exam that tests your competence to practice as a pharmacist.
4. GPhC Registration
Ensure you put in your best and pass the exam, after which you can apply to register with the GPhC. Successful registration grants you the legal right to practice as a pharmacist in the UK.
5. Continued Professional Development
Now that you’re a registered pharmacist, ensure you keep your skills and knowledge updated through continual learning and professional development.
How Long to Become a Pharmacist in the UK?
If you want to become a pharmacist in the UK, it may take up to a total of five years. Which will include completing a 4-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree, as well as enrolling for a one-year pre-registration training. After this training, you must pass the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) registration assessment to qualify to register and practice as a pharmacist in the UK.
What are Pharmacy Positions in the UK?
There are three kinds of Pharmacy positions, which includes:
- Pharmacy for Primary Care.
- Pharmacy in the Community.
- Pharmacy at a Hospital.
In the United Kingdom, Primary Care Pharmacists usually provide the following services directly to GPs as practice pharmacists or to Primary Care Trusts or Local Health Boards. Scroll down!
- Medication management.
- Prescription assistance.
- Advice on professional development.
- Coordination of pharmacy clinical governance.
Community pharmacies usually work closely with chemists serving the general public. In the UK, all community pharmacies must be directly supervised by a pharmacist. Below are some of the responsibilities of community pharmacists.
- Selling and making available pharmaceuticals.
- They may also offer medication advice.
- Community pharmacists may advise on symptoms and fundamental health issues.
- Furthermore, community pharmacists must enlighten patients on how best to use their medications.
- Making sure that several therapies are compatible.
3. Pharmacy at a Hospital
Pharmacists who work in hospitals directly interact with hospitals and are knowledgeable about medications and their applications. Meanwhile, some of the responsibilities include:
- Acquiring, producing, and distributing pharmaceuticals.
- Offering quality testing and pharmaceutical supply.
- Hospital pharmacists may guide medication selection and dose.
Challenges and Opportunities for UK Pharmacists
If you immigrate to the UK as a pharmacist, you may face a unique set of challenges and opportunities. Before you adapt to a new healthcare system and cultural differences, it may be challenging. However, there are numerous opportunities due to the high demand for pharmacists in the UK.
Especially in those areas on the shortage occupation list. Furthermore, the high demand will afford you the opportunity for career growth. As well as the chance to contribute significantly to the UK’s healthcare sector and thereby gain a rewarding professional experience as you navigate the initial hurdles.
Salary for a Pharmacist in the UK
According to Talent.com, pharmacists in the UK can earn an average salary of £47,713 per year or £24.47 per hour. However, entry-level positions start at £41,250 annually, while the most experienced workers can make up to £58,500 per year.
Pharmacists Worth in the UK
Community pharmacists are highly favored and they are always highly in demand in the UK. However, the job is quite tedious. You’ll see the same patients (high blood pressure, epilepsy, excessive cholesterol) and it’s like you’ve wasted your efforts.
Benefits of Working for the NHS
1. Larger Clinical Teams
One great advantage of working within the NHS is the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, specialists, and a broad support team. This multidisciplinary approach also allows for the exchange of knowledge, experience, and ideas, resulting in a more holistic approach to patient care. With an emphasis on patient well-being, this collaborative approach ensures the delivery of the best possible care.
2. Excellent Pension Scheme
The NHS offers an exceptional pension scheme that ensures long-term financial security for its employees, paving the way for a comfortable retirement. The scheme comprises three distinct parts, tailored to cater to different financial needs. Although it might seem intricate, understanding these components is crucial to securing your financial future.
3. Reduced Pressure
Compared to the demands often experienced in community pharmacy settings, NHS employment offers a respite from high workloads, long hours, and a constant influx of patients. This structured and less chaotic work environment empowers healthcare professionals to prioritize patient care without the added pressures of a retail setting. Working for the NHS results in reduced stress and workload, promoting better mental and physical well-being and allowing professionals to wholeheartedly concentrate on their patient’s health and recovery.
4. Career Progression
The NHS offers a wealth of diverse roles that enable pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to expand their skill set and knowledge base. Opportunities for career development are on the rise, spanning clinical, technical, educational, and managerial domains. Career progression within the NHS follows a clearly defined structure under the “agenda for change,” providing a practical framework for professional growth.
5. Work-Life Balance
NHS hospital pharmacists typically work a 37.5-hour workweek, which may include weekends. While there may be occasions when additional hours or participation in on-call duties are required, the NHS also accommodates flexible working arrangements, part-time employment, and job-sharing opportunities. Career breaks are possible, providing professionals with a balanced approach to work and life.
We hope you find our comprehensive guide on how to immigrate to the UK as a pharmacist, educative. Kindly drop your questions and comments below. good luck!