A BBC documentary places pharmacy safety standards into public debate

A BBC Inside Out documentary, including a lead feature on the death of a patient in community pharmacy and the company’s subsequent interactions with his family, was broadcast on BBC One on their HD channel and in some regions on their standard channel on Monday 8 October 2018.

Thu 11th October 2018 The PDA

We alerted members to this broadcast in advance, to highlight to you the potential for enquiries from patients or their families. We hope you managed to watch the broadcast as it will have once again placed pharmacy safety standards into public debate.  You can still view the programme via the BBC iPlayer until 31 October.

To view the programme, please follow this link:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bmpbdw

In a general sense this case appears to be a timely reminder to decision-makers and those who work in community pharmacy to think about safety, and about the need for candour when communicating with patients or their next of kin (which applies to managers just as it does to pharmacists).

Some of the issues raised in the programme included the importance of treating patients appropriately when things go wrong, staffing levels sufficient to meet the expectations placed upon staff, transparency, co-operation and pro-active disclosure from organisations in the event of an error including during inquest proceedings, the accurate completion of incident and investigation reports and the need for up-to-date and sensible Standard Operating Procedures which can always be followed on the front-line.

As an organisation concerned with risk management we, more than most, see situations when things have gone wrong and we appreciate that an appropriate review leading to an understanding of what happened is essential. A full understanding allows the correct action to be identified and implemented and that means looking at systemic aspects as well as the actions of individuals.

In such sad circumstances where patient harm has resulted, it is also important that both those directly involved, such as pharmacists, and those who influence the conditions of the pharmacy, such as employers and senior management, are equally scrutinised.

PDA members who have concerns about the issues raised in the programme, the safety of their pharmacy, or other related aspects should contact us. 


The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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