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AIBU?

To think most people have no idea how much a pharmacy dispenser earns?

228 replies

Froggy99 · 27/01/2024 20:22

Following on from another thread I’ve seen today about TA’s I was wondering if people had any idea how much a pharmacy dispenser earns? And if you think they should be paid more/less than they currently get.

OP posts:
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BungleandGeorge · 29/01/2024 00:36

Dispensers work totally under the supervision of a pharmacist. The pharmacist screens the prescription for clinical suitability, checks patient records, speaks to dr if any problems. They assist on the medicine counter but any questions or doubts about suitability, requests for advice should go to the pharmacist. So yes it is more skilled than normal shop work but it’s not independent work so I’d expect a few pounds more than minimum wage. Wages often don’t correspond to skill level though, it’s relatively straightforward and quick to qualify and you can do it while working which makes it easier to recruit I guess? Pharmacy technicians need a level 3 which is done on the job and are much better paid, can you do the qualification in a hospital?
to qualify as a basic level pharmacist is a 4 year masters degree plus a year pre-registration training. Starting salary for technician in nhs is around 25k and around 35k for pharmacist so if you’re older the cost of the degree and the time without a salary whilst at uni is potentially not financially advantageous

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Paw2024 · 29/01/2024 01:20

I know min wage is going up but it is such a struggle to pay for everything earning that and living alone
Even my old job (emergency call handler) was only band 3 and that's an incredibly stressful job

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Ukrainebaby23 · 29/01/2024 04:38

Try a job as an imaging assistant in Radiology, pay similar but much less responsibility, usually opportunities to progress if you are interested.

Yes I think HCAs, Pharmacy dispensers, TAs, carers should get paid more, but while people have the same attitude as mumsnetters they won't.

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yeahwhatev · 29/01/2024 08:22

Awful people on this thread, entitled and rude, so depressing, although I don’t know why I’m surprised. Only the other day there was a thread about people earning a tonne of money for doing piss all - all the m’netters were piling on that one to tell the OP not to worry about doing nothing for her sizeable salary and they and their husbands doing piss all too. I always imagine them writing these mean and entitled comments dripping off a bar stool on their dreary but much loved and coveted kitchen island. We are in a broken upside down economy for which parasitic work is handsomely rewarded while the stuff we all need and care about is degraded and demoralised, from schools and hospitals to local post offices and pharmacies. Unfortunately it’s very much a case of ‘don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’.

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coffeeaddict77 · 29/01/2024 10:34

I think that dispensers should be paid a bit more than other shop staff but ultimately salaries tend to reflect training and responsibility and I don't think dispensers have much of either unless they are qualified technicians.
The pharmacists have all the responsibility and supervise everything dispensers do and they spend five years training and have a degree whereas a dispenser just needs an NVQ 2 which is on the same level as GCSE isn't it?.

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coffeeaddict77 · 29/01/2024 10:39

LL1234 · 29/01/2024 00:06

I'm an Accuracy Checking Technician. BTEC LEVEL 3 NVQ 2 & 3. Pharmacy manager. Years of experience; in community pharmacies and GP dispensaries.
I am registered with the GPHC, pay annual professional fees; I have to maintain my training each year. I can sign passport applications like a GP.
To all those who think it's " just sticking a label on a box " you're having a laugh.
The level of operating procedures, training and product knowledge we have to learn and follow ( from day one, not just at my advanced level ) is unreal.
And so yes, we as a profession, are vastly unpaid and judging by many on this thread, undervalued.
I have been working as a self employed locum since covid and I can tell you that the public are in for a shock as pharmacies are closing down in huge numbers.
Underfunding means private pharmacy owners no longer see it as a profitable business. Online pharmacies don't work for the majority.
Never ending drug shortages and increasing delays cause patients to lash out verbally ( occasionally physically ) at pharmacy staff.
So we are leaving in droves.
I'm actually shocked at people who think it's like working in a supermarket.

I think OP is talking about a dispenser with NVQ 2 and no responsibility rather than a checking technician who obviously has a lot more qualifications and responsibility.

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BubbleBubbleBubbleBubblePop · 29/01/2024 12:25

I would think that it's a job that attracts a minimum wage tbh.

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Serencwtch · 29/01/2024 12:34

Stressedmum1966 · 28/01/2024 18:15

Really? They have to have qualifications & being in recovery from cancer I use mine for medication, they secure the make that makes me feel less unwell. I also use them for advice & guidance instead for clogging up my GP. No disrespect to shop workers who do a fantastic job I do expect a deeper level of knowledge and qualification. They are then in my views grossly underpaid.

I work in a supermarket sometimes on pharmacy as dispensing assistant & sometimes in other areas.
I prefer pharmacy as piss easy compared with 14 self scan checkouts.
Small amount of training to be dispensing assistant. Think E learning & a one off course.
Deeply flattered that you think I have powers I don't but I have no ability to order any of your special meds, brands etc.
Literally pick the items of the carousel or drawers to make it quicker for the pharmacy staff, put stuff through till, empty bins, shred paper, clean up spills etc.

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Stressedmum1966 · 29/01/2024 12:53

Ah cross purposes then. I mean those dispensing in a standalone chemist/pharmacy - we don’t have dispensing pharmacies where I live so maybe expectations are lower in a supermarket pharmacy. Guess I am very lucky with the one I go to as they can assist, order the brands I need and offer detailed advice saving GP time.

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Differentstarts · 29/01/2024 14:18

Serencwtch · 29/01/2024 12:34

I work in a supermarket sometimes on pharmacy as dispensing assistant & sometimes in other areas.
I prefer pharmacy as piss easy compared with 14 self scan checkouts.
Small amount of training to be dispensing assistant. Think E learning & a one off course.
Deeply flattered that you think I have powers I don't but I have no ability to order any of your special meds, brands etc.
Literally pick the items of the carousel or drawers to make it quicker for the pharmacy staff, put stuff through till, empty bins, shred paper, clean up spills etc.

Same the supermarket I work in has a pharmacy and we often cover In there when short staffed I find it easier and less stressful then self scan. It's actually a nice break from the shop work

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coffeeaddict77 · 29/01/2024 15:52

Stressedmum1966 · 29/01/2024 12:53

Ah cross purposes then. I mean those dispensing in a standalone chemist/pharmacy - we don’t have dispensing pharmacies where I live so maybe expectations are lower in a supermarket pharmacy. Guess I am very lucky with the one I go to as they can assist, order the brands I need and offer detailed advice saving GP time.

I think you are confusing dispensers with actual pharmacists.

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Ohflippingeckitscoming · 29/01/2024 19:53

Can I just chuck Pharmacy First in to the mix? The dispensers and counter staff now have that to deal with alongside everything else!

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Futb0l · 29/01/2024 20:05

Its a low level qualification that pretty much anyone can manage.

There are almost no jobs out there which require no skills whatsoever. It's kind of why we have an education system.

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prescribingmum · 29/01/2024 20:24

As a former pharmacist, I am fully aware that a good dispenser is absolutely invaluable to the smooth running of a community pharmacy.

The role is one that most of the working population can walk in and get on with, doing the qualification alongside working. The qualification itself isn't particularly challenging either - as many PP have said, on a par with school level qualifications. Responsibility for everything healthcare related does not lie with them, they are not accountable to a professional body and do not pay professional subscriptions. I can justify them starting on minimum wage - the role does not start off very different to the majority of min wage roles.

However, like in many other jobs, they gain knowledge and skills as they continue to work so an experienced dispenser is worth far more than minimum wage - as other posters have mentioned, they know how to keep the pharmacy running smoothly (especially in cases where it is being staffed by locum pharmacists unfamiliar with the store), deal with suppliers, maintain stock levels, relationships with regular customers and many other things. A natural progression would be becoming a pharmacy technician but unfortunately many stores prefer to keep their staff on lower wages so the good ones leave and go on to do bigger things

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Drosera · 29/01/2024 21:13

I'm always amazed how low healthcare salaries are tbh. My mate makes £65k driving a truck! £54k basic and the rest from overtime at £54 p/h. 😳

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csigeek · 30/01/2024 11:39

Pretty much minimum wage, especially in community pharmacy.
they should definitely get paid more, they have a lot of responsibility and are often the first point a grave error by the prescribing doctor is picked up.

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coffeeaddict77 · 30/01/2024 11:42

csigeek · 30/01/2024 11:39

Pretty much minimum wage, especially in community pharmacy.
they should definitely get paid more, they have a lot of responsibility and are often the first point a grave error by the prescribing doctor is picked up.

Dispensers don't have a lot of responsibility at all. You are confusing them with pharmacists.

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csigeek · 30/01/2024 11:55

@coffeeaddict77 they are still responsible for picking the correct medication. Yes, it will be checked down the line multiple times, but often if they make mistakes it doesn’t take many occasions for them to end up reprimanded or worse.
wouldn’t you feel responsible if, somehow, someone ended up with the wrong meds/dosage if you’d been the picker?

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britnay · 30/01/2024 17:51

And this is why I left after 10+ years...

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DonnaBanana · 30/01/2024 18:15

It’s a shame they earn so little. I hope there are some perks! Like being able to actually buy some things they are reluctant to sell behind the counter

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coffeeaddict77 · 30/01/2024 18:29

csigeek · 30/01/2024 11:55

@coffeeaddict77 they are still responsible for picking the correct medication. Yes, it will be checked down the line multiple times, but often if they make mistakes it doesn’t take many occasions for them to end up reprimanded or worse.
wouldn’t you feel responsible if, somehow, someone ended up with the wrong meds/dosage if you’d been the picker?

The pharmacist is responsible for checking and finding the mistakes and will be the one who gets into trouble if they don't find it. Who do you think would reprimand a dispenser for a mistake? Obviously if they make a lot of mistakes then the company they work for might decide they aren't suited to the job but that applies to any job doesn't it?

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NotAdultingToday · 30/01/2024 22:07

Op missing the point of your thread but just wanted to say i worked in community pharmacy and moved into the hospital pharmacy as i was sick of the way i was treated by the public and wanted to progress my career and my employers kept promising me they would put me on the tech course and never doing it.
Honestly it was the best decision i ever made, dispensing in a hospital is so much more interesting, the pay is better, no abuse from the public or the patronising "you just put a label on a box". And they hire for the tech course at least twice a year. I havent done it yet because i chose to have another baby 😂 but its nice to know when im ready the option is there
Personally i do that rather than becoming a hca its such a hard job

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fiftiesmum · 30/01/2024 23:08

It is often the dispenser who gets the abuse from the public (possibly as tend to be young and female) - I bet those members of the public wouldn't be as abusive to the GP who has written the prescription incorrectly (or often not at all)
Is there a thread on how much entry level investment bankers get paid for a job where there is no abuse from the public and no risk of someone dying or being injured if they make a mistake.

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SoDoffYourHat · 31/01/2024 08:26

coffeeaddict77 · 30/01/2024 18:29

The pharmacist is responsible for checking and finding the mistakes and will be the one who gets into trouble if they don't find it. Who do you think would reprimand a dispenser for a mistake? Obviously if they make a lot of mistakes then the company they work for might decide they aren't suited to the job but that applies to any job doesn't it?

But wouldn't you personally feel bad if you made a mistake that could have a serious effect on someone's health - even though you were not legally responsible for it? It's easy to say, if you like, that someone isn't being paid enough to feel bad about it, but, similar to causing an accident outside of work that wasn't your fault, most people wouldn't just be able to brush it off if someone else was hurt.

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coffeeaddict77 · 31/01/2024 08:51

SoDoffYourHat · 31/01/2024 08:26

But wouldn't you personally feel bad if you made a mistake that could have a serious effect on someone's health - even though you were not legally responsible for it? It's easy to say, if you like, that someone isn't being paid enough to feel bad about it, but, similar to causing an accident outside of work that wasn't your fault, most people wouldn't just be able to brush it off if someone else was hurt.

Their mistake wouldn't have an effect on someone's health though as it will be spotted by the pharmacist.

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