Proactive Lobbying

Actively involving the Association in lobbying the government and the development of the profession; talking to Government and the movers and shakers of the profession to put forward the interests of the individual pharmacist as opposed to those of employer organisations.

Defending the reputation and supporting the interests of individual pharmacists involves much more than providing defence in the event that something goes wrong. A core aim of the PDA is to proactively seek to influence the professional, ethical and employment agenda to support the interests of the individual pharmacist.

It is a fact that today, fewer than 10% of pharmacists own a pharmacy. Yet, arguably, the profession is controlled by owners of pharmacies, and in particular by the organisations that represent them.

Worse still, some organisations that have been established by pharmacy owners believe that they can also represent the interests of employees and locums. In reality, this cannot be realistic proposition as these ‘contractor’ organisations can never truly act in the interests of individual employee or locum pharmacists. The result is that the vast majority of the profession is vulnerable as it has little influence over much of the pharmacy environment.

In this last decade, the number of pharmacists who own a pharmacy has fallen dramatically. The result is that many pharmacists now feel that they have little influence over the direction of their profession and over the environment in which they work.

THE CONSEQUENCES

There are a large number of practical consequences of this kind of arrangement, far too many to describe.

Some examples:

  • Pharmacists are working longer hours and have to endure reduced staffing levels
  • This may be dangerous and therefore should be unacceptable, but far from the issue being examined and researched by the profession, it is becoming accepted as the norm
  • Why have the established representative bodies not commissioned any research on safe staffing levels and acceptable working hours?
  • Some employers are agreeing to provide an ever wider range of services e.g. more residential homes, MURs and various additional services but the pharmacist employees are not asked for their opinion on the feasibility of being able to deliver these services safely, nor are they given more staff to cope when their workload is increased
  • In the event of a serious error, which may have been caused by an inadequate pharmacy environment, in many instances it is the pharmacist who has ended up taking responsibility via a prosecution, disciplinary procedure or a civil claim for compensation from a patient.

This problem must be tackled; why is the NHS contract solely with the employer, when the service is actually provided by the pharmacist? Surely, this must be addressed!

HOW CAN THE PDA HELP?

In the interests of patient safety, it is important that some of these issues are addressed. The PDA is approaching this issue in a number of ways:

  • Prioritising the concerns
  • Commissioning research
  • Organising meetings of pharmacists to discuss the issues
  •  Arranging ‘focus group’ meetings to refine policies
  • Developing policy
  • Lobbying the relevant bodies both within and outside pharmacy to influence the professional, ethical and employment agenda.

Additionally, members will be kept informed of any news and developments relevant to the agenda with a section on the website devoted to the Latest News.

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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