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The Benefits of Working for the NHS

As a qualified pharmacist, you have several options when it comes to where you want to work. You could consider locum positions, full-time roles, community pharmacies, or joining the National Health Service (NHS). With various choices on the table, this article is here to illuminate the advantages of choosing the NHS over a career in a community pharmacy.

What is the NHS?

The NHS, which stands for the National Health Service, encompasses the publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom. It is composed of NHS England, NHS Scotland, and NHS Wales, each functioning as integral healthcare providers. Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, though separate, is often colloquially referred to as "the NHS." This monumental healthcare initiative was founded in 1948, signifying a cornerstone in public health.

Pharmacist at work

We have a number of roles available with the NHS

The Role of the Pharmacist in the NHS

Within the NHS, clinical pharmacists are increasingly being integrated into general practice teams. These pharmacists are not just healthcare professionals; they are experts in the field of medicines. Their role spans various facets of patient care, including conducting structured medication reviews for individuals managing chronic health conditions. Their efforts are geared towards enhancing patient safety, health outcomes, and overall value through a patient-centric approach.


Pharmacists in the NHS are remunerated through the Agenda for Change pay structure. Here's an overview of the salary bands:

  • Newly qualified pharmacists start on Band 6, with salaries ranging from £32,306 to £39,027.
  • With further education and training, pharmacists can advance to Band 7 where salaries are set at £40,057 to £45,839.
  • Senior-level positions, spanning Bands 8a to 8d, offer salaries ranging from £47,126 to £90,387, contingent upon one's knowledge, training, and experience.
  • As a chief pharmacist at Band 9, you could earn between £93,735 and £108,075.

It's worth noting that salary structures may vary in private hospitals. These figures are provided as a guide and can differ depending on various factors.

Benefits of Working for the NHS

Larger Clinical Teams

One significant advantage of working within the NHS, in contrast to community pharmacies, is the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, specialists, and a broad support team. This multidisciplinary approach allows for the exchange of knowledge, experience, and ideas, resulting in a more holistic approach to patient care. With an emphasis on patient well-being, this collaborative approach ensures the delivery of the best possible care.

Excellent Pension Scheme

The NHS offers an exceptional pension scheme that ensures long-term financial security for its employees, paving the way for a comfortable retirement. The scheme comprises three distinct parts, tailored to cater to different financial needs. Although it might seem intricate, understanding these components is crucial to securing your financial future. You can learn more about the pension scheme here.

Reduced Pressure

Compared to the demands often experienced in community pharmacy settings, NHS employment offers a respite from high workloads, long hours, and a constant influx of patients. This structured and less chaotic work environment empowers healthcare professionals to prioritise patient care without the added pressures of a retail setting. Working for the NHS results in reduced stress and workload, promoting better mental and physical well-being and allowing professionals to wholeheartedly concentrate on their patients' health and recovery.

Career Progression

The NHS offers a wealth of diverse roles that enable pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to expand their skill set and knowledge base. Opportunities for career development are on the rise, spanning clinical, technical, educational, and managerial domains. Career progression within the NHS follows a clearly defined structure under the "agenda for change," providing a practical framework for professional growth.

Work-Life Balance

NHS hospital pharmacists typically work a 37.5-hour workweek, which may include weekends. While there may be occasions when additional hours or participation in on-call duties are required, the NHS also accommodates flexible working arrangements, part-time employment, and job-sharing opportunities. Career breaks are possible, providing professionals with a balanced approach to work and life.

Pharmacist holding box of medication

View all vacancies over on our job page

Job Opportunities with Clarity Recruitment

Clarity Recruitment currently has a number of job opportunities for pharmacists with the NHS, at different levels of experience including:

  • Colchester: Temporary ongoing contract - Band 6 & Band 7 Pharmacist - Specialty: Haematology & Oncology
  • Lincoln: Home care and Medicines Management Pharmacy Technician - Band 5
  • Lincoln: Advanced Clinical Pharmacist - ICU and Surgery - Band 8a
  • Boston: Cross Sector Advanced Clinical Pharmacist - Band 8a
  • London: Temporary contract - Clinical Pharmacist - Band 6/7 & 8a

If you’re interested in learning more about these roles, or want to discover more positions, please get in touch with Adrian today at [email protected].

You can also view a complete list of vacant roles in the UK at the link below.

UK Pharmacy Opportunities

Posted on 27 October 2023
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