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Home  »   Latest NewsPublications   »   NHS Pharmacists’ Newsletter – October 2023

NHS Pharmacists’ Newsletter – October 2023

Welcome to the PDA NHS Pharmacists' Newsletter for PDA members. In the issue learn about the results of a recent general practice survey and how members managed to work together to influence changes to working hours at their Trust. Also, learn about the Black Country's clinical peer mentoring scheme.

Mon 2nd October 2023 The PDA

In this issue:

  • Welcome
  • PDA General Practice survey
  • PDA members at QE Birmingham work together to influence changes to weekend working hours
  • The foundation training year and beginning work
  • Black Country pioneer clinical peer mentoring scheme for clinicians in primary care
  • Workplace support and becoming a PDA NHS Rep
  • Get involved
  • In case you missed it

Welcome to the October edition of the NHS Pharmacists’ Newsletter  

By Liz Larkin, PDA Organiser

Since the last edition, there have been many developments within the PDA. We now have over 30 PDA Reps within the NHS who are having a real impact in their workplace. If you are interested in becoming a PDA Rep you can find more details here.

The PDA regularly works with PDA members in their workplace to ensure members’ voices are heard and pharmacists have their say within the NHS.

The first meeting of the PDA NHS Reps’ Network was on 27 June and Michal Lamparski, PDA Rep at Royal Devon University NHS Foundation Trust, and Jyoti Saini, PDA Rep at the Black Country ICB, talked about the work they have done as reps. Michal talked about how he communicates with members by setting up a WhatsApp group to enable discussion and support. Jyoti talked about how she gained union recognition for the PDA in her ICB, getting the PDA on the JNCC (Joint Negotiating Consultative Committee) and the presentations she has done on wellbeing. You can read more about the Network here.

Upcoming events for NHS members this Autumn:

  • 17 October: All changes in ICBs: How does it affect members and what’s the role of the PDA? Learn more and register here.
  • 24 October: PDA GP work satisfaction event. More details including how to register can be found here.

PDA General Practice survey 

By Alima Batchelor, PDA Head of Policy

After a hiatus during the Covid-19 pandemic, we believed that a survey of members working in general practice would be beneficial to seek the views of members working in primary care.

The questionnaire was drafted with support from primary care pharmacists in our regional committees and ran for four weeks during May and June 2023. The survey had a significant number of questions, and we thank those members who took the time to complete it as they have provided a fascinating (and at times concerning) snapshot of how things are on the general practice frontline.

The survey had an overall response rate of 1,378, with some interesting variations in the responses from pharmacists across the four UK nations.


PDA members at QE Birmingham work together to influence changes to weekend working hours

By Alice Mallinder, PDA member and specialist pharmacist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, part of the UHB Birmingham Hospitals Trust
Recently our Trust undertook a consultation period to review and change the weekend working hours for the pharmacy team. The senior management team led a formal consultation on two new options for weekend working hours without seeking our opinions beforehand. Whilst the aim of the consultation was to improve work-life balance, it was felt by the vast majority of the pharmacy team that these proposed options were not feasible and would in fact worsen wellbeing rather than enhance it! There was outrage and significant distress among pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and dispensers.
This led to a group of PDA members contacting the PDA, as our union, to see if anything could be done to help the pharmacists object to these proposals. Due to the timeline of the consultation, we had very limited time, so we set up an urgent meeting with Liz Larkin, PDA Organiser, over lunchtime to discuss the issue with as many PDA members as possible. We worked together supported by Liz to highlight our key concerns, and we then amalgamated them into an eloquent letter to the senior management team. As a result, the senior management team came back with some alternative proposals that reflected some of our suggestions and were more acceptable to the team.


The Foundation Training Year and beginning work

By Anjuli Bali, PDA member and Representative

My experience of the Foundation Training Year was definitely one to remember. I remember being so anxious to not only move away from home but to then start a new job in a hospital after having two years of online university! However, the staff here at my trust were very welcoming and I was lucky to have such a good support system of fellow foundation pharmacists. This helped to remind me we are all in this together.

Having partaken in the Foundation Training Year, it has cemented my love of pharmacy. I know now for sure that hospital pharmacy is definitely my niche. I have had the opportunity to sit in on surgeries, and work on speciality wards such as neurology, cardiology, oncology and paediatrics.

Black Country pioneer clinical peer mentoring scheme for clinicians in primary care

By Jyoti Saini, PDA Regional Committee member for West and Wales and primary care pharmacist

Being a PDA Rep has helped me to realise that, in particular, any new pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in primary care can benefit from the support of 1-1 mentoring. That’s why I joined the mentoring programme within the training hub.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a learning relationship, generally focused on long-term professional and personal development. The primary purpose is to drive personal growth, building skills, knowledge and understanding.

Mentors support and encourage their mentees by offering suggestions and knowledge, both general and specific. The goal is to empower mentees to find their own solutions to any problems or questions they may have and support them to achieve their goals.

The PDA offers Mentoring and Mentee Training Programmes for members, those wishing to learn more can enquire with PDA Education by emailing



Workplace support and becoming a PDA NHS Rep

By Mysah Muttur, a pharmacist working at Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust
I joined the PDA recently as a PDA NHS Rep after experiencing staff-related issues at my place of work with regards to car parking facilities. It can often be difficult to know how to raise concerns in the work environment and I had been part of the PDA for quite some time as a member for indemnity insurance purposes but had not used their other services since I was a student. I was aware that the PDA offered advice and legal support to pharmacists so thought to reach out to them for advice on how to combat the issues I was facing at work. I had also gone through senior management in my workplace and the issue was resolved whilst I was speaking to the PDA.

I was very impressed when I received a follow-up email from the PDA to enquire how the issues had been resolved with retrospective advice on how to deal with issues like these in the future. I was then told about the role of PDA NHS Reps and presented with the opportunity to become one as my hospital currently does not have a specific union rep for pharmacists. Having done the initial training, I’ve found many useful resources and training opportunities that will help me support my colleagues in the NHS workplace. It can be hard to raise concerns, but it’s important to do so to ensure a safe and cohesive working environment and the PDA gives you the tools and support you need to be able to carry out this role.

I am currently awaiting recognition at my Trust and look forward to opportunities to speak with reps from other disciplines within the NHS to contribute to a positive working environment. I am also excited to pursue further training opportunities with the PDA which I believe will enhance my skills as a healthcare professional.

Get involved

Those who wish can become a PDA Workplace Rep here or they can also get involved with their Regional Committee here.

The PDA also has four Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Networks available for members to join. All networks welcome allies and PDA Student and PDA Trainee members can join for FREE. More information can be found here.

We encourage you to forward this newsletter to colleagues who you feel may find it interesting and if they are not yet members of the PDA and wish to join they can do so here.

In case you missed it








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