Pharmacies struggling with staff, medicine shortages: ABN Amro
Pharmacies are facing growing staff shortages. They also regularly have too few medicines to give to customers. And the pressure on pharmacies will only increase in the coming years due to their aging workforce, analysts at ABN Amro warn.
According to a report published on Wednesday, about one in six pharmacy employees is over the age of 60. ABN Amro, therefore, expects “a large outflow of pharmacists” in the next ten years. In some neighborhoods, this “puts pressure on the continuity of care.”
Moreover, the customers of the remaining pharmacies will shift “from incidental to chronic patients and ultimately to care-intensive patients.” Those patients need more medication than they do now, and the pharmacists will have more and more work to give those patients the right medicines and educate them properly. That is why it is crucial that pharmacists work well with general practitioners and district nurses, said ABN Amro.
Since 2010, the number of medicines shortages has increased significantly. According to the researchers, the fact that pharmacies do not always have enough medication available is “due to problems with production, distribution, and quality, but also for economic reasons.” “Due to the low prices and the low population, the Netherlands is not an attractive market.”
Pharmacists spend over 17 hours a week trying to solve the shortages, the bank calculated. They must not only look for alternative medicines but also explain the change to the patient and the insurer. That comes at the expense of regular work. From next year, pharmacies must have a minimum stock on reserve. The analysts called this a positive step.