Community pharmacies in Guernsey and Alderney struggle to find staff
Roisin Gauson has been speaking to pharmacists across the Bailiwick.
Community pharmacies in Guernsey and Alderney are reporting serious issues in attracting and retaining staff.
The Bailiwick has 16 community pharmacies in total, and some have already had to close in recent weeks due to staffing issues.
Some warn it is a problem that might soon get worse, as a number of retirements are expected.
The Chief Pharmacist for the States of Guernsey, Beverley Hall, says discussions are ongoing with all Superintendent Pharmacists as to the impact these retirements might have.
There is also a problem in the UK. In March last year, pharmacists were added to the Home Office shortage occupation list.
Paul Durston has been dispensing medicine for more than forty years, twenty of which have been in Alderney, heading up the island's only pharmacy.
He has spent a year looking for someone to share the workload with but so far, no-one's come forward to fill the slot.
"There are quite a few pharmacists are getting to my age, so a few of us have already retired and that's made a big difference.
"I think as well after Covid, a lot of people have just said 'it's time for me to have a rest.' It is a worry."
It is a similar story in Guernsey.
All of the pharmacies we spoke to reported recruitment difficulties, with some saying it was the worst it had been in 25 years.
Niall Kealy runs an independent chemist in St Martins and he says it is increasingly difficult to deliver a good service when it is such a struggle to find the staff to provide it.
"There's been a big increase in demand and a lot of pressure on the pharmacy network and there's a lot of illness.
"It's been a pretty stressful time. It's worrying that if we can't recruit properly in the next 6 months to a year then we will have to see some changes."
There are fears that unless the Bailiwick can attract new staff from an ever diminishing pool, there might be cutbacks in community pharmacies in the future.
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