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Home  »   PDA UnionLatest News   »   PDA responds to employers’ admission that some pharmacy businesses are discussing a locum “blacklist”

PDA responds to employers’ admission that some pharmacy businesses are discussing a locum “blacklist”

The PDA has responded to statements made stating that some pharmacy businesses are talking about “sharing intelligence and collectively blacklisting pharmacists.”

Fri 8th April 2022 The PDA

The PDA believes all parties should honour agreements they enter into, including a pharmacy’s commitment to the NHS that it will open at set times to provide pharmaceutical services to patients and the public. This also includes individual pharmacists who have obligations to work at times and rates they have agreed to.

Corporations or individuals that breach contractual arrangements risk penalties for doing so. However, it is an unusual step for a prominent pharmacist to be leading a call to create a sector “blacklist” for locums regarding disputes over rates.

Rates and self-employed status

The motivation regarding the current talk of creating a blacklist seems intrinsically tied to hourly rates. Although there are occasional and isolated anecdotal reports on social media of alleged incidents of locums seeking higher rates than already agreed, these are far outstripped by reports of pharmacy businesses unwilling to negotiate and who do not want to pay the necessary rate to engage a locum and instead have set capped or fixed rates.

Following locum member feedback that some unrelated pharmacy businesses in the same area all have the same capped maximum locum rate, the PDA is already on record that if there was evidence to support a finding that two or more pharmacy businesses had colluded together to set a maximum rate they will pay locums, the union will report such a situation to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) requesting they launch an investigation.

Locum Blacklists and Data protection

A “blacklist” requires creating and maintaining a record containing individuals’ data. The list owner must consider that everyone responsible for using personal data must follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’. They must make sure the information is:

  • Used fairly, lawfully, and transparently
  • Used for specified, explicit purposes
  • Used in a way that is adequate, relevant, and limited to only what is necessary
  • Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date
  • Kept for no longer than is necessary
  • Handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction, or damage.

Data subjects have the right to find out what information organisations store about them. These include the rights to:

  • Be informed about how data is being used
  • Access personal data
  • Have incorrect data updated
  • Have data erased
  • Stop or restrict the processing of their data
  • Object to how their data is processed in certain circumstances.

It is unclear how those businesses having discussions about creating a blacklist believe the above rules and rights would be met. This includes how a locum would be notified of their inclusion on a list and the reasons that justified it.

Trade union blacklisting

Blacklisting is the practice of compiling information on individuals concerning their trade union membership and activities. This particularly affects those who have raised concerns about health & safety or other workplace risks and regulatory violations with a view to that information being used by employers or employment agencies to discriminate in relation to recruitment or treatment.

After wholesale blacklisting was exposed in the construction industry the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklisting) Regulations 2010 were introduced. These regulations penalise the listing of trade union members for the purpose of discrimination against them. This potentially leads to criminal sanctions for employers and agencies who do so. Under the regulations:

  • It is unlawful for anyone to compile, supply, sell or use a ‘prohibited list’
  • It is unlawful for an employer to refuse employment to a job applicant, to dismiss an employee, or to subject an employee to any other detriment for a reason related to a ‘prohibited list’
  • It is unlawful for an employment agency to refuse to provide its services to an individual for a reason related to a ‘prohibited list’.

The PDA has serious concerns about the suggestion that pharmacy businesses would create a “blacklist”, whether it is within the scope of the 2010 regulations or otherwise.

PDA members who are concerned about being blacklisted are advised to contact the PDA service centre.

Learn more


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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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