Why do we exist?

The PDA is the only organisation solely looking after the interests of individual community, primary care and locum pharmacist in an increasingly difficult and hostile environment.

Over the last twenty years or so, pharmacy has become almost entirely an employee profession. This is in stark contrast to how pharmacy was a century ago, when more than 90% of pharmacists owned and operated their own pharmacies. Because of this history, the representative organisations that were established in pharmacy all those years ago predominantly looked after the interests of owners.

Although today fewer than 10% of pharmacists are now owners, the same old organisations exist and they continue to look after the interests of the employers and serve them well. The result is that the vast majority of the profession is vulnerable as the working, professional and financial environments are all controlled by the minority, a small number of employers and employer organisations. There are many ways in which this imbalance affects individual pharmacists.

The increasingly hostile environment

Pharmacists face conflicts in five main areas which we call 'The BIG 5':

  • Civil Action

    By patients and other third parties eager to claim compensation. Since 1997, owing to an increasingly litigious society, civil claims for compensation have doubled.

  • Professional Disciplinary Action

    Mainly by the RPSGB, but other authorities are now also taking on regulatory roles. There has been an increase in the level of action taken against pharmacists by the regulatory authorities, mainly owing to an increased level of patient complaints.

  • Employment Disputes

    There is now a significant number of employment disciplinary procedures being taken by employers against employees and locums. 50% of all legal support episodes offered to pharmacists by PDA involve employees being handled unfairly by their employers.

  • Locum Contract Disputes

    Locum pharmacists frequently find themselves having problems resolving outstanding payments for services or other contract issues. These can escalate into a referal to the RPSGB if not handled correctly.

  • Criminal and other prosecutions

    Historically, the most common prosecutions faced by pharmacists were for Drugs Act and Medicines Act offences. However, the Crown Prosecution Service has recently begun to develop a trend which means that pharmacists and even Pre-reg's are now facing manslaughter charges in the event of an error leading to a death.

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