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Home  »   Latest News   »   PDA celebrates #HeartUnions Week 2023

PDA celebrates #HeartUnions Week 2023

#HeartUnions Week begins today (13 – 19 February). The annual campaign aims to raise awareness of why unions are so vital for all workers by celebrating the achievements of unions and to motivate non-members to join their union.

Mon 13th February 2023 The PDA

With over 35,000 members, the PDA is the largest pharmacists’ membership organisation and only independent trade union exclusively for pharmacists in the UK. The not-for-profit organisation supports the needs of all pharmacists, including students and trainees.

To celebrate HeartUnions Week 2023, the PDA is encouraging members to ask their colleagues who are not yet members to join by sharing their personal experiences of how being part of the PDA Union has benefitted them.

Since last year’s HeartUnions week, the PDA has achieved many key successes. Here are just a few of them:

Medicines to Ukraine

This year, the PDA worked with various European pharmacist union partners to respond to the calls from Ukrainian hospitals for help and specialist medicines. The Medicines to Ukraine campaign was launched in April, after being set up by PDA Chairman and Secretary General of EPhEU, Mark Koziol. Medicines to Ukraine has raised over £200,000 in the UK, which has helped provide high-quality, specialised hospital medicines to the casualties of the war.

To find out more about the campaign, or to donate, click here.

Mark Koziol and Natalia Sypko run the Medicines to Ukraine stall at the Pharmacy Show 2022

Negotiating on behalf of members

The fourth annual pay talk at Boots secured a pay increase for all eligible pharmacists and an agreement to continue short notice payments. This was the largest percentage increase negotiated for the bargaining unit since the PDA Union began collectively bargaining over pay in 2019. In July 2022, the PDA Union secured a much-improved revised offer for pharmacists in the bargaining unit at LloydsPharmacy, during what was the first pay negotiation since members secured recognition rights for the PDA Union at LloydsPharmacy.

The PDA also surveyed members working in the NHS whether they wanted to be balloted for strike action against the government’s proposed NHS pay offer. The PDA will continue to support members following the results of the survey.

Prioritising the wellbeing of members

The mental health, wellbeing, and safety of members is always a priority for the PDA. In order to support pharmacists, the PDA held informative webinars to help members deal with stress in the workplace and stress caused by exams throughout the year. They also supported and promoted events focused on improving mental wellbeing that were hosted by other organisations, such as Pharmacist Support.

In November 2022, the PDA launched its annual Safer Pharmacies Survey for the seventh year running. The survey asks pharmacists across the industry about their experiences of health and safety in their workplace to ensure that working conditions meet the PDA’s Safer Pharmacies Charter and to give an insight to the PDA of the challenges that its members are facing.

In order to help all pharmacists across the profession, the PDA also donates £1 per member to its charity partners, Pharmacist Support, every year.

Hosting member events with the PDA Reps Network in Boots and LloydsPharmacy

The PDA Reps Networks in Boots and LloydsPharmacy work to represent the PDA members who work for those companies. The networks are supported by the PDA, and in the past year the reps have hosted a number of events. These events provide a networking opportunity and allow pharmacists to share their experiences and concerns regarding the profession. The reps can then follow up on any issues raised within the events with the employer.

PDA Reps Network in Boots met to discuss the changes caused by amendments to the recognition agreement between the PDA Union and Boots

PDA’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Networks’ achievements

The PDA’s EDI Networks were created to help tackle all forms of discrimination. The four EDI Networks are NAWP, BAME, LGBT+, and Ability.

During Pride Month 2022, the PDA LGBT+ Network launched a range of resources to support the ongoing #LGBTplusMPharm campaign, which aims to improve LGBT+ inclusion in the curriculum at Schools of Pharmacy. The following month, the PDA BAME Network launched the Anti-Racist Pharmacy Toolkit. The Toolkit was designed to help pharmacists take collective action to create an anti-racist workplace culture and environment.

In December 2022, NAWP hosted two Equal Pay events online to ensure that pharmacists are aware of their rights and can take action if they’re affected by unequal pay. Also at the end of 2022, the PDA Ability Network released guidance on understanding and accessing reasonable adjustments in one of the multiple informative newsletters they published during the year.

Supporting student members

As part of the PDA’s dedication to supporting student members, the PDA hosted a ‘Taking the Stress out of Exams’ course. The course was designed to help students’ mental health and for them to stay calm and exam fit.

Like many previous years, the PDA sponsored the Student Leadership category in the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish Pharmacy Awards to celebrate future pharmacy professionals. The PDA also contacted the winners of the Student Leadership Award in order to highlight their success and dedication to the profession.

Pharmacy Student Leadership Award winner, Harvey John from Swansea University, with Alison Jones, The Pharmacists’ Defence Association, and Professor Mark Gumbleton, Cardiff University

Supporting trainee members

Throughout the year, the PDA released free revision programmes to help trainee pharmacists prepare for their assessment. After the June 2022 assessment, the PDA was inundated with enquiries from distressed members because of the concerning problems, such as technical, organisational, and training issues, that occurred. The PDA supported members through this, with online events, tailored support, and more.


Look out later on this week to find out what else the PDA has done for its members.

Get involved

  • PDA members are encouraged to share this article with pharmacist colleagues who aren’t PDA members and ask them to join the PDA.
  • Members and reps can interact with the PDA on social media, as the PDA will be posting across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn during the week.
  • PDA members can share stories on social media about how being part of a union has helped their careers by including the hashtag #HeartUnions.
  • PDA members are also encouraged to share why they joined the PDA or a PDA EDI Network, or why they became a PDA Rep, on social media.

Learn more

Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists, and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.





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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