A new survey has revealed that as many as 97% of UK pharmacists expect to come under greater pressure in 2020, reinforcing the idea that significant changes to pharmacy administration are needed to reduce the growing pressure on them.

The research, conducted by Brother UK, also revealed that 89% say cutting down and optimising back-office processes would release much-needed resource, with more than 60% saying that increasing admin volumes have become a major source of pressure for the sector.

The survey, which consisted of 100 pharmacists, also revealed that the key issues they say need to be resolved are complex working processes between pharmacies and GP practices, handling prescriptions, management of patient records and document and label printing.

“These are challenging times for pharmacists, as they deal with increasing demand for a growing range of services despite the threat of cuts to funding” explained Diane Barnes, senior healthcare business manager at Brother.

“Our research shows a strong demand for change, particularly when it comes to alleviating the growing administrative burden. They want to see universal use of digital records and prescriptions, improvements to IT networks and a shake-up of how surgeries and pharmacies work together, particularly in terms of developing clear responsibilities for prescribing and dispensing.

“Printing and labelling is also a key source of frustration for the sector. More than half (55%) of the pharmacists we spoke to said they have little understanding of how much their business spends on print.”

The results come as pharmacists are expressing concerns at having to provide more services to more patients, which include the new community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) and a range of clinical functions, such as hepatitis C testing and a stop-smoking referral scheme.