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With apologies to country music warbler Ed Bruce for the stolen headline, there are some of you out there who may be wondering if ‘cowboy’ would have been a more desirable career path. Lots of sunshine, free beans, and no need to scan the cattle to make sure they are not falsified. 

Over the past eight years, as an independent observer with a better than lay person’s understanding of the sector, I have listened to pharmacists become increasingly disgruntled, particularly owner-practitioners. There are a number of reasons for this — increased administration; soaring locum fees (if you can get one); phased dispensing and ONS approvals; haggling with Government over fees that should have been allocated without question; rising operating costs; being treated as ‘second-class’ compared to medical primary care colleagues — the list is a long one, and you know its contents better than I. 

So, would you encourage your children to pursue a career in pharmacy, and if not, why not? Or is it all worth the hassle at the end of the day? 

There is a lack of a solid study to measure the health of the pharmacy profession in Ireland, so we therefore form our opinions based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence. But post-Covid research is surely needed. 

In the meantime, this is your publication and a vessel for your opinions. I would urge you to use it as a forum to start conversations. Write to us, anonymously if you prefer, and share with your colleagues what’s going on with you at the coalface. As the song says, “if you tolerate this…” You know the rest.