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Students and new pre-regs 2020/21 – Changing times

We are listening to our student members views and concerns at this difficult time and working to support you and represent your interests.

Thu 28th May 2020 The PDA

We are listening to our student members views and concerns at this difficult time and working to support you and represent your interests.

We understand that you will soon be moving into a new phase of your studies and maybe starting summer placements or your pre-reg year in a few months’ time. We want to support you through these changes and as the COVID-19 crisis develops it will have consequences for every year from pre-registration trainees back to first years, and even for those A level students who intend to start their course this Autumn.

Are you starting a summer placement or your pre-reg year?

As a student or pre-reg PDA member, we provide you with FREE indemnity and legal defence insurance which covers all aspects and risks in the pharmacy workplace. The PDA can also support you with employment issues unrelated to pharmacy as we are an independent trade union and know that employment disputes wherever they occur can negatively impact on your ability to study or even register as a pharmacist. Problems outside the university can leave a student vulnerable to sanctions. Employment problems can be reported to the School of Pharmacy or the regulator even when the work is unrelated to pharmacy and you made need to contact us for legal advice or support.

We can support you through any workplace problem whether it is a professional, legal, ethical or an issue that you have with your employer. During the COVID-19 Crisis, you may be working in an environment with more risk associated with it and you may be asked to carry out unusual tasks. It is so important that you renew your FREE PDA membership each year to continue to maintain your indemnity insurance and be able to access the support and advice we can provide.

Pharmacy students have been given the opportunity to register to help with the COVID-19 Crisis. We believe this should only be in a PAID capacity to maintain the legal employment responsibilities that an employer must fulfill and to properly protect students. Some areas to watch out for:

The PDA view is that pharmacy students volunteering to work in a pharmacy should be paid at least the national minimum wage (NMW). Whether a volunteer is an ’employee’ or a ‘worker’ depends on a number of factors. Merely labelling a student as a ‘volunteer’ or ‘intern’ will not prevent them from acquiring employee or worker status and rights, such as entitlement to the NMW. The employment status of pharmacy student volunteers is therefore not clear cut and will often be decided on the individual’s circumstances. The PDA can advise students on their rights in such situations.

Working in a pharmacy presents additional workplace hazards regarding the COVID-19 situation and all pharmacy employers must have undertaken a specific risk assessment for their staff which should be made available to you. This risk assessment must cover the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and this equipment must be provided for your protection where identified. The PDA website has extensive resources regarding the use of PPE and our pharmacists and lawyers can advise you on how best to protect yourself in the workplace.

It is essential that pharmacy students do not undertake activities in the workplace unless they are competent to perform those tasks and have received the necessary training. All reputable pharmacy employers should provide a comprehensive induction package and a detailed job description so that the student knows what is expected of them and is able to perform the role with the required support.

Check out our student webpages for more information and encourage your fellow students and pre-regs to join FREE today.

Please be assured that the PDA is in regular contact with the pharmacy schools, GPhC, government agencies, professional bodies, pharmacy contractors and NHS leaders to represent the interests of individual pharmacists, pre-regs and students to share their experiences during this crisis.


check out the pda student page

Become a PDA Student Rep

The PDA recognise and value our student reps. The role involves sharing information and feeding back on student issues and concerns, including from your peers so that we can lobby on your behalf, communicate with you, issue relevant guidance and support, and where appropriate, campaign for you and with you. This voluntary role is vital to the work of the PDA and will help ensure that more pharmacy students are aware of who the PDA are, what we do, what support and advice is available to students when they join the PDA FREE, and how members can get involved.

Learn more about becoming a PDA student rep


Help us to help more people in the profession. Refer a friend to join the PDA today!

If you know any pre-regs or pharmacy students that are not yet members of the PDA, please encourage them to join the PDA for FREE today so that we can also support them in their career journey. Membership is FREE for students and pre-regs.


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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