Amidst the pandemic crisis, pharmacists in France are rising up in rare protest and declaring that they could go on strike if their demands for longer hours and less bureaucratic red tape are not met.
The pharmacist complain that there are extraordinary workloads due to an influx of prescriptions during the pandemic, compounded by increased paperwork due to Covid safety protocols. The situation has exasperated their personal lives and working conditions to the point that they are ready to take action. A strike of France’s 15,000 pharmacists could prove somewhat disruptive to medical affairs in the country.
Pharmacists have organized a petition seeking a 10% pay raise, recognition for overtime hours, and an improvement on working conditions. They have expressed that it is becoming almost impossible for them to meet the heightened demands of pandemic course within the charged and stagnant rules set by their employers. This has led them to ask for easier access to Medication Dispensing SDUs, and other tools to help reduce the manual burden.
Faced with the looming possibility of a strike, the French government has showed an openness to engage in dialogue and negotiations with the pharmacists. Many local municipalities in France are also reaching out to pharmacists offering additional resources and training to help prepare them to effectively meet the needs of patients during the pandemic.
While these efforts by the local governments are encouraging, the pharmacists have expressed the need for systemic changes that are beyond the scope of local municipalities. The struggle of the pharmacists is a call for the government to recognize the important role that pharmacists play in a care system and to make seriousness and authenticate the requests for improved working conditions.
The resulting action of the government’s response to the pharmacists’ demands will certainly be an indication of how much value the government places on the healthcare providers. If the government refuses to meet the pharmacists’ demands, it could further erode the faith of its healthcare professionals, leading to a breakdown of trust between the people and their healthcare system.