The Pharmacy Guild says that the Government’s voluntary bonding scheme has failed to include pharmacists in its recent widening – even though the sector struggles to retain staff in rural areas.
As it currently stands, the scheme encourages newly-qualified doctors, nurses, and midwives to start their careers in hard-to-staff communities and specialties by offering payments to student loans after a three to five year bonded period.
The Guild would like the Government to expand the scheme to include pharmacists. Community pharmacy has had difficulty attracting and retaining professional staff in rural areas for some time. The Guild believes inclusion of pharmacists and interns in the voluntary bonding scheme would help lessen staff shortages in rural pharmacy and therefore improve access to health care for rural populations.