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PDA continues to celebrate #HeartUnions Week 2023

This week is #HeartUnions Week (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.

Thu 16th 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. On Monday, the PDA shared a few of them, which can be found here. Below are even more of the PDA’s achievements from the past year:

The CPC and the Pharmacy Show

The PDA attended the Clinical Pharmacy Congress (CPC) in May. With the aim of sharing knowledge and best practice from across the sector, the PDA ran two successful sessions. The first session focused on managing risk in general practice and the second session was delivered by the PDA BAME Network, and discussed how PDA members are leading change for an anti-racist pharmacy sector.

In October 2022, the PDA also attended the Pharmacy Show. The PDA had speakers in several of the theatre sessions at this year’s Pharmacy Show, and led their own two sessions. PDA Chairman, Mark Koziol ran a session about the Medicines to Ukraine campaign, specifically speaking about his trip to Ukraine last year and helping to set up a scheme to help Ukrainian hospitals with supplies of medicine. The second session, ‘LGBT+ inclusion in Pharmacy’ led by the PDA LGBT+ Network, reviewed the network’s achievements since its launch in April 2020. As well as this, the PDA supported the EPhEU stand promoting the Medicines to Ukraine campaign.

Mark Koziol leading his session about the Medicines to Ukraine campaign, at the Pharmacy Show 2022

Defending members

The PDA has supported hundreds of pharmacists in the past year with workplace disputes, including some which have progressed to tribunals. To make the experience as stress-free for members as possible, the PDA aims to resolve workplace disputes early and without formal dispute. However, there are times when the issue cannot be resolved in such a way, and the PDA has more than satisfactorily settled many cases this past year.

PDA Education

In 2022, PDA Education launched their first summer school, which included online courses for members with focuses on ‘Mental Health Awareness’, ‘Being a Mentor’, and more. The PDA also provided multiple online and face-to-face events for PDA Reps to help them develop their skills and network with each other.

Producing factsheets and toolkits

Throughout the past year, the PDA NAWP Network released a number of factsheets. In March, which is Endometriosis Awareness Month, NAWP produced a factsheet to raise awareness of Endometriosis. The network also launched a factsheet to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia during May, Fibromyalgia Awareness Month.

The PDA also launched an awareness factsheet centred on the causes, symptoms, and ways to deal with stress, called ‘It’s Time to Address Stress’, and a toolkit to help pharmacists tackle bullying in the workplace.

Working with others

In September 2022, the PDA joined the Council of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). FIP is the global body representing pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, and pharmaceutical education. By joining FIP, the PDA will have much more influence, which will benefit PDA members.

Throughout the year, the PDA has regularly worked with other trade unions. Recently, the PDA joined the Scottish Trade Union Congress’ (STUC) anti-racism march and rally. Earlier in the year, the PDA also presented its first ever motion at the STUC Annual Congress.

Paul Flynn, PDA National Officer for Scotland, at the STUC’s anti-racism march and rally

Impacting policy

The PDA speaks out on behalf of members to make sure their voices are heard. This means that the PDA is often responding to and shaping policies that affect the pharmacy industry.

For example, in April, the PDA spoke out in support of locums, who reported that they’d been told to reduce agreed shift rates or be cancelled. The PDA also raised awareness about how the largest multiples were closing over fifteen times more often than other owners and, in August, called on the Health Secretaries for England and Scotland and Ministers of Health for Wales and Northern Ireland to enable ‘special measures’ to protect patients from unnecessary pharmacy closures.

In November 2022, the PDA submitted a 17-page contribution to the commission on the future of pharmacy professional leadership.

When shaping policy, the PDA knows it’s important to be aware of their members’ opinions, and regularly canvas members’ opinions, such as about the pharmacy closures.

Receiving feedback

The PDA receives regular feedback from its members highlighting the work that is done to support its members. Below are some examples of this feedback:

  • “Being a member of a union is important to ensure we have safe workplaces, good working conditions, fair pay, and access to legal advice on employment matters. Employers may not always look out for you, but the PDA Union, the largest pharmacist member organisation will.”
  • “I would like to say how thankful I am for all of your support through the issues I was facing at work and I do not think I would have got through it if it was not for yourself and your colleagues help from the PDA. I am so grateful for all of our discussions and wanted to say a heartfelt thank you from both my wife and I. I appreciate all of the hard work you have done in supporting me and my family, you are truly a Godsend.”
  • “All I can say is to keep up the good work because you really cannot even begin to understand the difference you make to pharmacists’ lives, especially mine. With the most heartfelt thanks to you all, take care of yourselves as much as you take care of us.”

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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