Community pharmacies in Northern Ireland often experience high patient volumes and increased workload due to various factors, particularly in the post-Covid-19 era. Factors include our aging population, a rise in chronic conditions, and the government encouraging the expanded role of community pharmacists in delivering healthcare services beyond simply dispensing medications. The increased demands can place pressure on the pharmacists' time and resources.

Global Horizon Skills is delighted to work in conjunction with the UCA-NI in training provision specifically designed for the pharmacy counter and dispensing team. Designed to support these essential staff in the delivery of best practice to their Northern Ireland customers:

“UCA-NI’s vision is to support the creation of a standardised training structure for the non-pharmacist workforce based on local training and assessment. A training structure that will provide excellent training to develop a strong, professional workforce that can deliver high quality pharmacy services to meet the needs of the population of Northern Ireland now and in the future”  

Adrienne Clugston, Operations Manager, UCA-NI Ltd

Staff shortages: Like many healthcare sectors, community pharmacies can face challenges related to staff shortages, particularly post-pandemic and post-Brexit. An increased lack of pharmacists and trained support staff can add strain to the workload and increase pressure on existing personnel. Recruitment and retention of skilled professionals may be impacted by various factors, including financial constraints, workload demands, and competition from other healthcare sectors.


Supply chain issues: Disruptions in the pharmaceutical supply chain can impact community pharmacies' ability to obtain necessary medications and healthcare products promptly. Shortages of certain drugs or delays in deliveries can cause difficulties in meeting patient needs and can add pressure on community pharmacies to find suitable alternatives or manage limited stock effectively.


Changing regulations and policies: Community pharmacies must adapt to evolving regulations and policies related to healthcare provision, dispensing practices, and reimbursement schemes. Keeping up with these changes, implementing new processes, and meeting compliance requirements can create additional administrative burdens and potential challenges for community pharmacies.


Competition and service expansion: The pharmacy sector has seen an increase in competition, with the presence of multiple chain pharmacies and online pharmacies. These competitors may have different business models and resources, which can impact the viability of community pharmacies. Additionally, community pharmacies may be under pressure to expand their services and diversify their revenue streams to remain competitive, further adding to their workload and resource requirements.

We are fortunate to have trainers with such excellent experience in the pharmacy sector.  Lorna McGrath, is a Community Pharmacist and now GHSkills Trainer:

“I always felt there was a real need for this type of formal training and qualification for our invaluable support staff whom we rely on to deliver the quality service we expect in our pharmacies. As the workload in the pharmacy is increasingly demanding there is less and less time to engage in sufficient training for staff during the working day so, a structured supported training programme is an ideal solution” 

Our next Level 2 Pharmacy Programme is due to begin soon. If you would like your employee(s) to take part, please be aware that 30th June is the expression of interest deadline.

To register your interest or to find out more, get in touch today
Catherine McGeady, catherine@ghskills.com

Tel: 07850 661971