Shortages of skills force the closure of scores of pharmacies in Sweden


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Friday, 05 August 2011
Skill shortages in Sweden are beginning to be practically visible. One simple example is the shortages of pharmacists in Sweden. This has led to the closures of pharmacies in various places across the country.

We have been shouting here on this network as to how the behaviours of the Swedish society and its employers will one day turn to bit them. Now the first stage is being set and the first casualties being observed.

There are as could be expected, few Swedish graduates in the pharmacy sector. Added to the recent deregulation of the sector which means that many start-up pharmacies have mushroomed around the country, there has been increased demand for skills but to no avail. Now several pharmacies are saying that they temporarily close down.

On the ground, during the week Kronans Droghandel in Hedesunda was forced to shut down temporarily because of the lack of pharmacists. By law, there must always be a graduate pharmacist for it to be kept open.

The pharmacy in Hedesunda is not the only pharmacy forced to shut down due to staff shortages. In May, a pharmacy in Svanesund was closed down because it was difficult to recruit trained pharmacists.

“It's an industry problem where there is pharmacist shortage on the whole. In some places it is now very difficult to recruit staff and I think that applies to all pharmacy operators. I know we have competitors who have newly established pharmacy but can not open because they have not been able to recruit staff,” said Andreas Roslund who is communications director of Kronans Droghandel.

One reason for the shortage of pharmacists in Sweden is that the proportion of pharmacies has increased sharply since deregulation 2009. But the main reason is that too few people are looking to pharmacy education.

It is particularly noticeable at the Swedish pharmacy programs in which the proportion of graduates decreased sharply in the last five years. From 287 people in 2006 to only 171 people last year. During the spring semester, the number of applicants to the country's pharmacy programs down to 0.8 applicants per place.

Swedish Pharmaceutical Association says they must get better at marketing programs so that more people are looking for.

But the crux of the matter is that before 2009 the pharmacy profession was not very attractive in Sweden. It was at some times in the past classed as a profession that was hard to get a job or build a career with in Sweden. This was before the deregulations of 2009 but with the explosion of new pharmacies these days, it tale time to train pharmacists and to build interest among would be pharmacist.
Another reason has to do with the discriminatory Swedish job market practices.  With many immigrants looking people having their skill undermined, they have taken them to other places such as the UK. In fact in the UK there are significant number of Swedish doctors and pharmacist which are of different ethnic groups rejected in the Swedish labour market who are now making great careers in their areas of speciality the UK. Lesson to learn here?
By Team

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