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PDA is calling on all pharmacists to voice their concerns on safety in the workplace

The 2021 Safer Pharmacies Survey is due to go live later this week (22 October). This is an annual survey that gives pharmacists the opportunity to voice their concerns on safety in the workplace. Less than safe working conditions risk harm to patients as well as damaging consequences for pharmacists.

Tue 19th October 2021 The PDA

The survey is based on seven key commitments which make up the PDA’s Safer Pharmacies Charter. The Charter was created by PDA members to improve safety and care for patients, through better working conditions in UK pharmacy practice. 

The Safer Pharmacies Charter defines basic standards to ensure safe practice wherever pharmacists work. The seven commitments are outlined in the Charter that can be downloaded below.

Download the Charter here

thumbnail of Safer Pharmacies Charter_Updated

The results of last year’s Safer Pharmacies Survey shone a light on the working conditions faced by pharmacists during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Respondents described increased levels of aggression faced by pharmacy teams and a lack of adequate rest leading to an increasingly stressful workplace.

The results of the 2020 survey garnered alarming evidence of poor workplace practices, for example, one respondent said, “Some pharmacies where I locum, you have a 30-minute break in a 10- hour shift when non-pharmacist colleagues get a break at least every 4-6 hours. Pharmacists are usually working longer hours mostly stood in one location and all you get is a 30- minute break in a 10- hour period… [I am] suffering personally from physical medical problems brought on by this profession such as plantar fasciitis, knee problems, backache, varicose veins, etc., and as time goes on these problems [will] get worse but [I have not had] much support from employers around physical wellbeing.”

Some respondents described the difficulties faced when trying to raise concerns with managers. One respondent said, “Well in big organisations it is highly difficult to raise concerns without being labelled as negative and difficult.”

Most alarmingly, respondents described threats of assault and battery from the general public due to lack of stock. One respondent told the PDA, “We have had threats of being beaten up after we finish work because their prescription hadn’t arrived in the pharmacy. When we checked the doctors had sent it to a different pharmacy.  We have been told that our work just is not good enough because we had an item out of stock.  We’ve had countless remarks about how we are useless and incompetent.”

The results from this year’s survey will show whether employers are taking steps to safeguard their teams from harm at a time when pharmacists have increasingly demonstrated their value within the community. Pharmacies are one of the very few facilities which have remained consistently open throughout the pandemic.

The PDA is urging all pharmacists to take part in the 2021 Safer Pharmacies Survey when it launches later this week (22 October).

Get involved

The results of the previous surveys can be found below.

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 provisionally registered/newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.








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