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':
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.
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.