PDA calls for next steps to end violence in pharmacies after community pharmacy sector adopts zero tolerance approach

The community pharmacy sector has moved to a united position on zero tolerance of violence. The PDA welcome this development and is now calling on the whole sector to work together with the union to deliver the next steps in the process to end violence.

Wed 13th May 2020 The PDA

The PDA’s longstanding campaign to end violence in pharmacies is securing commitments from all parts of the sector, but these words must now become a sustained reality.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) define violence as “Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work”.

Nobody should accept being abused, being threatened or being assaulted as part of their job, yet somehow for too many, too often that is the attitude that has been able to develop. Every time violence has been accepted, and the aggressor has avoided any consequences to their actions it has condemned colleagues to greater risk of reoccurrence. This cycle must stop now.

It starts with zero tolerance

The first of the five key measures called for in the PDA policy is for zero tolerance of violence to be in place:

1. A zero-tolerance policy for violence towards staff working in a pharmacy, including verbal, sectarian or racist abuse directed towards pharmacists and pharmacy staff.

The NHS has had a zero-tolerance policy for over 20 years, but until now pharmacists in parts of the community sector have sometimes reported a very different attitude by certain employers. Examples have included situations where aggressors have been rewarded with vouchers after pharmacists have spoken out about unacceptable behaviour and the incidents have then been reviewed by employers. People should always come before profit, yet it seems too often the risk of losing an aggressor’s custom, has been made the priority. This has always been an unacceptable approach by those employers.

However, the PDA’s campaign has secured a significantly increased profile in these last few weeks. We have now obtained commitments from all major national community pharmacy employer organisations towards a zero-tolerance approach.

  • The National Pharmacy Association, who had already been promoting zero tolerance to their members for some time, have said : The NPA has zero tolerance for violence or other forms of abuse in pharmacies.  The safety of pharmacists and pharmacy staff should never be in question.
  • The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies has now said: “AIM has always supported the zero tolerance of violence in pharmacies and our members take this matter very seriously.”
  • The Company Chemists Association has now said:The CCA and our members take the safety of our people and patients very seriously.  We have a zero-tolerance approach to violence in community pharmacy.”

The sector needs to double down on these words and make sure the public understands that there is a genuine zero tolerance of any form of violence in all community pharmacies. We encourage pharmacists to display our poster, which is now endorsed by the National Police Chiefs Council, in your pharmacy. The PDA also want any pharmacist that sees employers acting to the contrary of these stated commitments, to notify us immediately with the details.

Having secured commitments for zero tolerance the PDA is now calling on the whole sector to work with us to secure the other 4 measures detailed in our policy, including proactive measures to reduce the risk of violence, calling on the government to help fund those measures and asking the regulator to ensure that all pharmacies are obliged to prevent violence as part of regulatory standards.

2. A requirement for every pharmacy owner to undertake a risk assessment at individual premises level and publish a clearly-defined statement on the risk of violence.

3. Measures appropriate to the situation, as identified by a risk assessment, are implemented to reduce the risks of violence.

3. Funding for security measures from the government to assist pharmacy contractors with their implementation.

4. Regulatory standards which place more robust requirements on pharmacy owners, superintendents, chief pharmacists and managers to ensure the safety of staff.

Learn more about the PDA anti-violence policy here: www.the-pda.org/violence-in-pharmacy.

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.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)