Press Release: Bill to protect NHS workers from assault recognises plight of pharmacists

Following its recent lobbying campaign, PDA welcomes the progress made by the committee of MPs debating the bill to protect emergency workers from assault, to extend the protection to pharmacists working in community pharmacy.

Fri 17th November 2017 The PDA

The PDA has been lobbying parliamentarians to protect pharmacists from violence.

Following its recent lobbying campaign, PDA welcomes the progress made by the committee of MPs debating the bill to protect emergency workers from assault, to extend the protection to pharmacists working in community pharmacy.

The Assault on Emergency Workers (offences) Bill  was originally drafted to protect emergency workers such as police, fire, ambulance and emergency department staff operating within an emergency setting. However, this narrow scope would not protect people doing similar public service who also face enhanced risks of abuse and violence, such as community pharmacists.

The PDA has been highlighting the risks to pharmacists working in community pharmacy from members of the public following an increasing number of violent incidents against its members. Pharmacists were concerned that the bill, as drafted, failed to cover pharmacists and their teams working in community pharmacy.

The Bill was debated in committee this week and following lobbying from the PDA and other organisations representing healthcare staff, the bill was amended to expand the definition of emergency workers. Chris Bryant, MP for Rhonda, is the sponsor of the bill and he tabled amendments which were accepted without opposition to extend the scope. The bill is programmed to have its third reading in the House of Commons in April 2018.

The Bill now defines an emergency worker as:

  ‘a person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to 

(i) NHS health services, or

(ii) services in the support of the provision of NHS health services,

and whose general activities in doing so involve face to face interaction with individuals receiving the services or with other members of the public.’

Claire Ward, Director of Public Affairs at the PDA, said “ Pharmacists and their teams are delivering essential NHS services often under challenging circumstances and they deserve protection under the law from those who abuse them simply for doing their job.

We are delighted that MPs have recognised the need to protect other categories of people and not just those in emergency situations. We look forward to seeing this legislation progress through its parliamentary stages and get on to the statute book next year.”



The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) is a not for profit organisation which aims to act upon and support the needs of individual pharmacists and, when necessary, to defend their reputation.

PDA Union is the only Trade Union in the UK exclusively for Pharmacists. It has a certificate of independence and is a member of Unions21 and EPhEU.

PDA and PDA Union have more than 26,000 members.

The primary aims of the PDA are to:

  • Support pharmacists in their legal, practice and employment needs.
  • Represent the individual or collective concerns of pharmacists in the most appropriate manner.
  • Proactively seek to influence the professional, practice and employment agenda to support members.
  • Lead and support initiatives designed to improve the knowledge and skills of pharmacists in managing risk and safe practices, so improving patient care.
  • Work with like-minded organisations to further improve the membership benefits to individual pharmacists.
  • Provide insurance cover to safeguard and defend the reputation of the individual pharmacist.


Editors requiring further information should contact:

Paul Day

Tel: 0121 694 7000,


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)