Pharmacy - Reports

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    An analysis of the pharmacist workforce capacity in Ireland over the past 15 years
    (University College Cork, 2018) McMahon, Tara; Bermingham, Margaret; Griffin, Brendan T.
    Background: The FIP 2018 global pharmacy workforce report identified that the pharmacy workforce is facing increasing capacity challenges and predicted that globally, the pharmacy workforce would grow by 40% over the next 15 years. The purpose of this report was to specifically examine the pharmacist workforce in Ireland over the last 15 years with reference to a number of developments that have both directly and indirectly affected the capacity of the pharmacy sector. A second objective was to benchmark the pharmacy workforce capacity in Ireland against other countries of similar demographic and economic standing in order to assess how Ireland compares. Methods: Data was collected from PSI Annual Reports, Eurostat, OECD, PHARMINE Reports, UCAS, CSO Census Reports, WHO and FIP Global Pharmacy Workforce Reports regarding the pharmacy workforce in Ireland and selected comparison countries. Comparison countries were chosen based on population, GDP/capita, healthcare expenditure and HDI values. The data was analysed and presented using graphs and tables. Results: The number of pharmacists in Ireland has increased by 90% over the last 15 years. Despite two new Schools of Pharmacy opening in 2002 (RCSI) & 2003 (UCC), 57% of new registrants to the PSI over the last 15 years qualified via the EU route, predominately from the UK. Since the first graduates from RCSI and UCC qualified, PSI registrants via the national route range between 27-56% of total additions annually. Ireland’s output of pharmacy graduates per population is 40% lower than the UK and the number of pharmacy graduates per school of pharmacy in the UK is over twice that of Ireland. Ireland has the second highest number of pharmacies per 100,000 population out of 10 comparator countries. Ireland also has the joint highest number of pharmacists per 100,000, based on the total number of pharmacists registered with the PSI. This includes 5.5 % of PSI registrants who are in non-patient facing roles, 2.5% who are not-practicing/other and 21.5% of registrants who do not state their area of practice, with only 70.5% of registrants declaring as ‘patient-facing’. Conclusions: The pharmacy workforce in Ireland is highly dependent on new registrants applying via the EU mutual recognition route, predominantly from the UK. Any interruption to mutual recognition of pharmacists between the EU and UK, as a result of Brexit, would significantly affect the capacity of pharmacy services in Ireland. Compared to similar EU countries, pharmacists/pharmacies per head of population is relatively high. However, estimates of pharmacy workforce in Ireland based on all pharmacists registered with the PSI may overestimate capacity in Ireland. In order to meet global trends of the increasing number of patients needing access to pharmacy related services and diversification of pharmacist roles, ongoing review of capacity in pharmacy is essential.