Locum hourly rates up 70pc, says NPA as it pushes for more funding
Research carried out by Locate a Locum has revealed the cost to pharmacies of hiring locums in England increased by 71 per cent from the 2020 average to the second half of last year.
The findings, which refer to the hourly rate paid to locums, prompted the National Pharmacy Association chief executive Mark Lyonette to warn NHS England & Improvement that the community pharmacy sector needs more funding to offset increasing staff costs and other overheads with inflation on the rise.
Locate a Locum also warned the increase in locum costs is set to continue. While its research revealed the largest rise was in Scotland, the NPA has said it is talking to all four UK negotiating bodies about the issue.
“There is a heavy reliance on locums in community pharmacy to maintain continuity of services with the average pharmacy operating 50 hours per week. Consequently increases in locum rates have a big effect on the cost base,” Mr Lyonette said.
“Pharmacies face a range of general cost pressures beyond locum rates, including much higher energy costs. We hear a lot about the cost of living crisis; our members are facing a cost of doing business crisis and it’s every bit as real.
“The underlying underfunding, significant general inflationary pressures and specific cost increases relating to the locum workforce together make a powerful and urgent case for new funding.”