Countdown Pharmacy in Invercargill has reduced its weekday hours and closed over weekends because it can’t find staff – leaving just one pharmacy in the city open on a Sunday.
Jo co-owns five pharmacies in Gore, Riverton and Invercargill and often drives between them to give dispensary staff a break.
He considered closing one branch when he couldn’t find staff.
Despite offering above industry average salaries, he didn’t get any responses to job ads.
Jo was an early adopter of robotic dispensing, and more recently, he’s been training other staff as pharmacy accuracy check technicians to take pressure off his pharmacists.
“We’re lucky that we’ve had staff motivated to upskill themselves,” Jo said.
But his staff are tired: “Some of them are broken. They’re looking at career changes. I fear that we’re going to keep losing people when the borders open.”
“Everyone’s working their butts off to provide what people need.”
Susan Zhen is a final year student at the University of Otago and has already signed on to complete her internship in Australia where she’ll earn more and pay less in internship fees.
She’s been studying full time for four years and will have to do a year-long internship, but she’ll be paid the same as a tradie who’s been earning from day one of their training and won’t carry student debt, she said.