Taking A Look At The Importance Of The Irish Pharmacy Union

There are currently over 6,000 registered pharmacists in Ireland. Of those pharmacists, 2,200 are registered as members of the Irish Pharmacy Union, and 95% of those are community pharmacists.  Union membership benefits employers, employees and locum pharmacists.

Employer/Employee Issues

study commissioned by the Irish Pharmacy Union found that only 53% of employee pharmacists rate their work atmosphere as excellent.  The study determined that pharmacist employees are dissatisfied with their work environment in a wide range of areas, which include:

  • 51% with unsatisfactory breaks
  • 52% with funding of registration fee
  • 59% with there being no employer-funded pension
  • 60% with no employer funding of study fees
  • 63% with lack of a structured pay progression
  • 63% with lack of coverage for breaks
  • 77% with lack of private medical insurance

When asked to rate their place of employment on a 1-10 satisfaction scale, the average rating was only 5.41.  The desire to be better appreciated and treated fairly by their employer or customers was listed by almost 1 in 8 pharmacists.

That same study determined that 2 out of 5 pharmacists feel they need to learn better business strategy, HR, Finance, Accounting, and Claims processes.  Fifteen percent of pharmacists feel they need improvement in management skills, leadership skills, and customer service skills.  The Irish Pharmacy Union can advise pharmacists on areas of business management, resolving employee issues, and offers education and training.

Employee dissatisfaction in the workplace is what leads to situations such as the one encountered in 2018 when Lloyd’s Pharmacy workers at almost 40 stores went on strike. The employees went on strike despite the company has agreed to a new work agreement.

For the 270 workers that went on strike, the deal offered was not sufficient.  Their union-negotiated and the end result was a pay increase, implementation of banded working hours, voluntary severance packages, and additional benefits.

Membership in the Irish Pharmacy Union benefits both employers and employees in resolving employment differences and offers mediation services to help prevent strikes or lawsuits that disrupt business and can damage employee/employer relationships.

Self-Employment/Locum Pharmacist Issues

Locum Pharmacists are classified as self-employed and are responsible for their own tax and National Insurance Contributions. These self-employed pharmacists are engaged on a seasonal or daily basis performing the duties of a pharmacist.  They dispense medication, advise on treatment, and the sell pharmacy only medications.

It is important for locum pharmacists to have a contract. A pharmacist who is self-employed must secure protection for their health, safety, and to protect themselves from possible discrimination. Those who are members of the Irish Pharmacy Union will have the benefit of guidance in all these areas.

The locum pharmacist can decide what work to do, where they want to work, and the hours they want to work. They have the ability to set the price for their work. The locum puts in bids or gives quotes to obtain work and is not under direct supervision when working.  They may work at more than one location on a regular basis.

Those who are self-employed are entitled to a basic state pension, provided they have enough NI contributions.  Locums need a smartcard that allows them to work at multiple sites and access patient information in a secure manner.  Professional Indemnity Insurance is a General Pharmacy Council requirement that may be available through the Irish Pharmacy Union.

All details of the locum pharmacist’s work is detailed in their employer contract. The Pharmacists Defense Association (PDA) states that a lack of a contract is the main area of problems when advising locum pharmacists.  The Irish Pharmaceutical Union can provide advise on important employee contract clauses, including special considerations when working in more than one location.

If a contract with a locum is breached it is recommended that the pharmacist contact their trade union or organization for assistance.  The Irish Pharmacy Union provides professional assistance to both employer and employee members, including help in resolving disputes.

Benefits of Irish Pharmacy Union Membership

Members of the Irish Pharmacy Union have the benefit of professional support and advise.  Membership is open to chemists and druggists who are registered as community pharmacists with the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

The IPU offers a video on its website that gives an overview of the benefits of membership. Active in promoting the professional role of the pharmacist, membership is beneficial for pharmacists who wish to stay up-to-date on important information.

The Irish Pharmacy Union can provide support and information on all aspects of the business.  The IPU product file contains over 63,000 products including information on licenses and unlicensed medicinal products.  This includes updates to product form, precautions and warnings, legal classifications and pricing.

When a pharmacist has human resource issues, the IPU can offer guidance and mediation services if needed. The IPU is active when policies and strategies need to be changed in the industry.  By keeping their members informed, Pharmacists who are in the IPU will have the latest, up-to-the-minute, industry news.

Every pharmacist needs to comply with the Compliance Pharmacy Act of 2007.   The IPU can answer questions and provide guidance on compliance.  They also offer advise on business regulations, business intelligence, insurance, data protection, and more.

Pharmacists benefit from membership through networking opportunities, reduced rates on IPU training, free membership to the IPU Academy, and more. The IPU Academy was developed by the Irish Pharmacy Union to support Continuing Professional Development.

As a member of Irish Pharmacy Union you are automatically a member of the IPU Academy.  This allows you to participate in live learning events at IPU Academy Programs.  You can also receive continuing education in either traditional or eLearning formats, eliminating the need to travel for presentations.

Training programs offered for the community pharmacy help pharmacists and their staff stay up-to-date on products and services.  The IPU provides constant updates on information related to the pharmaceutical community, including news on recent events of significance for pharmacists.

Student Membership is available to those who are enrolled in one of the schools of pharmacy in the Irish State. If a student is enrolled in a school of pharmacy outside the Irish State in a school recognized by the Irish Pharmacy Union they may be accepted for IPU membership.

Products for Irish Pharmacy Union Members

Cornmarket offers products to IPU members in three important areas: Health Insurance, Financial Planning, and Retirement Planning.

With 45 years of experience, Cornmarket is Ireland’s health insurance broker.  Members enjoy savings of up to £407 when using this exceptional IPU member program.  Cornmarket professionals will compare plans and find the best health insurance plan for you and your family.

The Financial Planning Services offered to IPU members through Cornmarket provide the knowledge you need to meet your financial goals. A review of your finances will allow them to help prioritize your expenditures and develop strategies to bring financial success.

Whether you are in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, Cornmarket’s financial planning services for IPU members will help put you on the right track to financial success. They will customize a plan to fit your individual needs in all areas including home, health insurance, life insurance, savings, and retirement.

Retirement planning services are available to Irish Pharmacy Union Members through Cornmarket. Their experts in retirement planning will develop a customized plan to meet your retirement needs.

Based on your age and years until retirement, Cornmarket will advise you on the best actions to take now so you receive every benefit you are entitled to in retirement. Their retirement experts will guide you on investing in Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) and Bonds. They will let you know what to do after you retire to maximize your benefits.

An important aspect of retirement planning is inheritance planning. Cornmarket experts will advise you on the steps to take now so loved ones do not encounter an inheritance tax bill after you are gone.

Pharmacist Professionalism

Pharmacists are governed by a Code of Conduct regarding the principals and ethical standards of their profession.  On September 25, 2019, a new Code of Conduct was launched. This code ensures that all pharmacists conduct themselves in a manner that is professional and provides the responsibilities they have to their patients.

It is a pharmacist’s professional duty to make sure that the medical needs of their patients are met. The pharmacist must treat each patient with courtesy and patience, providing clear, concise information on how to use the medical products they are being supplied with. Seventy-One per cent of pharmacists feel that chain pharmacies have damaged the public perception of care available at pharmacies.

The Pharmacist’s professionalism is the key to making sure their customers are satisfied.  Over 90% of people in Ireland trust their pharmacist.  Networking with other healthcare professionals helps the pharmacist to develop and maintain confidence in their profession, collaborate on changes in the industry, and receive colleague support.

The Irish Pharmacy Union can provide updated information to help the pharmacist maintain and improve their steps to meet customer needs, stay up-to-date on skills, and keep customers happy.

Professional Staffing Crucial to Pharmacy Business

Maintaining a professional, friendly and well-staffed pharmacy is crucial to a successful business. MedPharm is the perfect companion to membership in the Irish Pharmacy Union. This pharmacy recruiting company conducts full background checks from references by Garda Vetting. This provides a five-day turnaround for 80% of applicants. Contact MedPharm now for staffing solutions at pharmacies throughout Ireland.