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Staff shortages are causing health and safety concerns in the workplace

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) recently called for employers to ensure that the protection of workers is not compromised by staff shortages.

Wed 20th October 2021 The PDA

Members regularly tell the PDA that staff shortages are causing health and safety concerns in their workplace. The PDA would like to remind all pharmacy employers that operating with too few staff can seriously compromise pharmacist and patient safety.

IOSH, the global membership organisation for those responsible for health and safety in the workplace highlighted both physical safety in the workplace and an increase in worker stress, as threats to the mental health and wellbeing of workers. IOSH has created a special ‘checklist’ for those businesses and workers who are currently having to cope with worker shortages and the PDA would recommend that all pharmacists review this with their employer in mind.

Ryan Exley from IOSH said, “Worker shortages do not and should not mean worker neglect. Whether organisations are finding it difficult to recruit, or they’re being challenged financially and need to make cuts in expenditure, it’s vital for their business/organisation and their staff that they ensure those who work for them are kept safe.”

PDA Organiser Clare Hirst, said, “Members are telling us that their pharmacies and pharmacy departments are regularly understaffed. Store closures in community pharmacies are an outcome of this understaffing, and local pharmacists are under significant pressure. This needs to be urgently addressed to protect the mental health and wellbeing of pharmacists and ensure that the services to patients are not impacted further.”

To understand more about the current situation facing PDA members employed by the major multiple pharmacies, the PDA recently emailed members employed at Lloyds, Boots, and Well and asked them to undertake a stress and wellbeing in the workplace survey. The PDA has utilised questions developed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to develop this survey. By employing this non-biased approach, including using HSE’s analysis tool to collate responses, the PDA will be in a better place to help members to improve their working conditions.

The surveys will close on Friday 22 October 2021. All PDA members employed at Lloyds, Boots, or Well should have received a link via email to complete the survey. Those that did not receive this, can email Clare at

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