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Home  »   Latest NewsWorkplace PressureSafer Pharmacies CharterTrade UnionsRemote Supervision   »   PDA launch “Safer Pharmacies Charter”

PDA launch “Safer Pharmacies Charter”

The PDA has produced a charter of seven commitments to improve safety and care for patients. It appeals for improved staffing arrangements and working conditions for pharmacists which will enhance patient safety considerations in UK pharmacy practice. This charter defines basic standards to ensure safe practice wherever pharmacists work.

Wed 6th December 2017 The PDA

The PDA launched a safer pharmacies charter at a reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 5 December attended by members of both houses of parliament, pharmacy leaders and pharmacists.  Sir Kevin Barron MP formally hosted the event, he is the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pharmacy.

The PDA stated that keeping patients safe is key to the role of every pharmacist. But that sub-optimal working conditions in pharmacies not only risk harm to patients, they can lead to intolerable pressure upon the mental health of pharmacists who are forced to contemplate having to take short cuts due to a lack of resources to work with.

The Charter commitments cover 7 basic areas which should be standard practice whenever and wherever pharmacy work is carried out:

  • No Self-Checking
  • Safe Staffing
  • Access to a Pharmacist
  • Adequate Rest
  • Respect for Professional Judgment
  • Raising Concerns and
  • Physical Safety

The charter was officially launched by Mark Koziol, Chairman of PDA.  Jonathan Ashworth MP Shadow Health Secretary also attended the event and endorsed the charter in a supportive speech.

Pictured: Shadow Health Secretary, Jon Ashworth and Chair of the PDA, Mark Koziol.

Mark Koziol said: “The General Medical Council undertook a piece of research in 2012 that alluded to the fact that one in eight patients who collected a prescription from the GP had a prescription that contained an error; that’s a whopping 12.5%.

By the time the patient leaves the pharmacy, that error rate has been reduced to 1 in 2,500 that is 0.04%. If asked, all pharmacists will say that they can do even better, but sadly, many are hampered in doing this.

Whilst the numbers of prescriptions are growing, the resources that pharmacists work with are getting smaller and smaller. Staffing levels are being reduced, trained staff removed to cover other parts of the pharmacy, targets to sell items or hit other commercial imperatives are forcibly imposed. All of this leads to a diminution of patient safety –  and as the valuable safety net service starts to breakdown mistakes may not be picked up and patients can endure harm.

The commitments in our Charter are basic standards which most patients would assume already exist as part of the pharmacy system, such as pharmacists being given rest breaks and the right quality and quantity of support staff being available. “

Citing remote supervision as a cause for concern Mark Koziol said;

“The idea to operate a pharmacy in the absence of a pharmacist is one which the Department of Health have been working on for more than 10 years. They really must try harder to understand what the pharmacist does in relation to keeping patients safe. The public expect and must have access to a pharmacist in the pharmacy at all times. A pharmacy without a pharmacist is never going to be as safe as one where a pharmacist is present.”

The PDA made three specific commitments;

  1. In the coming weeks, it will be consulting with the employers and seeking government support to get widescale commitment to the Safer Pharmacies Charter.
  2. It will be actively encouraging the regulator to help underpin the professionalism of pharmacists by supporting the creation of safer working environments for pharmacists leading to improved safety for patients.
  3. It will be encouraging all the professions representative bodies to join in the creation of a combined advertising campaign to raise the awareness of the public about the important and valuable safety role being undertaken by pharmacists whenever they present their prescription at the pharmacy.

PDA is encouraging use of the #saferpharmacies hashtag as part of the campaign.

The full charter is available to download here:



About the PDA:

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) is a not-for-profit organisation and trade union which aims to act upon and support the needs of individual pharmacists and, when necessary, defend their reputations. The PDA is the only organisation in UK pharmacy that exclusively looks after the interests of employee and locum pharmacists across all sectors of pharmacy, and currently has more than 27,000 members.

The primary aims of the PDA are to:

  • Support pharmacists in their legal, practice and employment needs
  • Provide representation for its members
  • Proactively seek to influence the professional, practice and employment agenda so that members can deliver high quality care
  • Lead and support initiatives designed to improve the knowledge and skills of pharmacists towards improved risk management, safer practice and high-quality patient care
  • Work with like-minded organisations to deliver these aims
  • 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.

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