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PDA launch Safer Pharmacies Survey 2020

In our fifth annual patient safety survey, we invite pharmacists to share their experience of safety in the workplace. This survey is open to employed and locum pharmacists wherever they work.

Mon 27th July 2020 The PDA

We recognise that during this coronavirus pandemic, there have been exceptional conditions and causes for them, which may never be recreated. However, the situation faced in workplaces by pharmacists is nevertheless the reality of conditions this year, and our annual survey seeks to monitor the reality of continuing safety, which will include this unprecedented period. In order to allow ongoing year on year comparisons, our questions remain the same as last year. We have separately surveyed about pandemic specific matters.

We ask that you spare a few minutes to let us know about your experiences at work. If we can get enough responses, it could really help to change things for the better. Our previous survey results have featured in pharmacy media, national newspapers and on television, and they help us to influence and draw attention to the issues pharmacists face which affect patient safety. When you tell us how it is, we do the same when we meet with the pharmacy regulators, the government and employers.

You can complete the short survey below – it’s based on our Safer Pharmacies Charter.


Previous results

We have published the results of previous surveys here and here. There were some remarkable findings from both hospital and community pharmacy, and these are influencing our strategic work.

About the Safer Pharmacies Survey

The Safer Pharmacies Charter invites employers to make seven commitments to improve safety and care for patients. The commitments cover the basic areas that should be standard practice whenever and wherever pharmacy work is being carried out.

In the Safer Pharmacies Survey, we ask how often the seven commitments have been met during the past six months. With the findings, the PDA aims to persuade the government, regulators and employers to improve the working environment for pharmacists, which will, in turn, improve patient safety. The commitments are as follows:

  1. No Self-Checking – to prevent any errors, an additional, suitably trained and confident member of staff should be available at all times to provide an independent second check
  2. Safe Staffing – staffing levels need to be sufficient in order to allow all legal, contractual and regulatory obligations and organisational expectations to be met
  3. Access to a Pharmacist – a pharmacist must be available wherever patients expect immediate access to face-to-face expert advice on any medicine-related matters
  4. Adequate Rest – pharmacists must be able to take at least their statutory and contractual breaks and rest periods without interruption
  5. Respect for Professional Judgment – pharmacists should be enabled to make professional decisions in the workplace so that patient safety and professional standards come first
  6. Raising Concerns – pharmacists should be able to raise concerns without reprisal or fear, and those must be properly addressed
  7. Physical Safety – risks should be assessed, and preventative measures put in place so that patients and staff are kept safe.

Many organisations have added their support to the charter because they too want to see safer pharmacies. The BPSA, patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents, the Pharmacist Cooperative and Health Campaigns Together have all endorsed the charter, as have trade union USDAW and the Labour Party. We welcome support from additional organisations, however most important to us is that thousands of pharmacists have expressed their support for it, which tells us it’s important to the profession.

For more information about the Safer Pharmacies Charter, click 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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