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Home  »   PublicationsBoots   »   Boots Newsletter – June 2021

Boots Newsletter – June 2021

Keeping you informed of all the PDA Union activities within Boots

Wed 30th June 2021 The PDA

In this issue:
  • Pre-registration and Provisionally-registered pharmacists update
  • Take a (proper) rest break
  • Joint Negotiating Body (JNB) and Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) update
  • Reps in-depth
  • Health & Safety Update
  • Share our Boots new starter booklet and other useful PDA joining materials

Pre-registration and Provisionally-registered pharmacists update 

By Paul Flynn, Regional Rep for West Scotland


We would like to wish the last cohort of ‘pre-registration’ pharmacists and provisionally registered pharmacists good luck as they prepare to sit the GPhC exam in July 2021 and join us on the register.

This is always a stressful time without having to work and train during a global pandemic, so I would encourage you to make use of all the PDA, Pharmacist Support and other resources available to you.

The March 2021 pass rate of 88.8% meant that unfortunately some colleagues didn’t get the result they had hoped for, and the PDA has continued to support members with both appeals, further revision resources, new membership categories and advice on the next steps.

Many trainees who have signed up for the PDA Education Hub revision programme, have found it very worthwhile and felt it gave them additional confidence in approaching the new online exams.

We will shortly be welcoming the new ‘trainee’ pharmacists, and also pharmacy students to Boots, so please encourage them to join the PDA and to make use of the resources and events which are free to them. They can also join in with roles available for Student Reps and Trainee Reps too.

For those coming to the end of the pre-reg year who aren’t members, I would still encourage you to join the PDA.

Learn more

Get involved 

If you have any colleagues that are not yet members of the PDA, please encourage them to click below to join the PDA today.


Take a (proper) rest break

By Richard Evans, Regional Rep for Northern Ireland 

The PDA Union reps at Boots have recently emailed all pharmacists in the bargaining unit with a guidance document entitled ‘Take a (proper) rest break’.

We all continue to work under pressure on the frontline and want to ensure everyone can make an informed decision on their entitlement to take a protected rest break. The GPhC standards state that ‘People receive safe and effective care when pharmacy professionals practice only when fit to do so’.

It is important that pharmacists are able to take a proper physical and mental break to maintain that safe care for patients and also look after their own health and well-being.

Depending on the break you choose to take, you should also be paid correctly for the time you are signed into the pharmacy as a Responsible Pharmacist. For more detail, please read the document and if you’re a member and would like more support, please contact your local rep.



Joint Negotiating Body (JNB) and Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) Update

By Richard Evans, Regional Rep for Northern Ireland 

The PDA Union Reps meet regularly with senior leaders in Boots at the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) to ensure that the concerns brought to us by PDA members are raised and solutions are discussed.

A key topic at the April 2021 meeting was the importance of the wellbeing of the pharmacist workforce and the issues that are detrimental to pharmacists mental health & well-being.

Concerns were raised and discussed including workload pressures, pharmacy and store system problems and staffing levels; all viewed by pharmacists as increasing stress in their day-to-day practice.

As part of the union recognition agreement, PDA Divisional Reps and senior PDA officials present an annual pay claim to Boots on 1 July and enter into negotiations to agree a pay deal. Thank you to members and pharmacists who completed the pay survey as your views inform the team of what is important to pharmacists, prov-regs and pre-regs working in BootsUK (the bargaining unit). We lobby and challenge the employer on your behalf for a fair and transparent pay system and have recently produced a ‘ready reckoner’ to help give pharmacists clarity on where they sit within the Boots salary scales. If you are a member and would like more guidance, please contact your local PDA rep.

Learn more


Reps in-depth 

By Nicola Rees, Regional Rep for the Midlands and Divisional Rep for the North

I’ve worked in community pharmacy for over 20 years and was very aware of increasing concerns pharmacists had regarding their working environment. When the PDA achieved union recognition within Boots, I saw this as an opportunity to make a difference, stand up and ensure that the voices of pharmacists were heard. I was pleased to become the Regional Rep for the Midlands, and also the Divisional Rep for the North of England.

As a PDA Union Rep, I can raise the concerns pharmacists have with senior leaders at the quarterly Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meetings to try and improve working conditions and find solutions for issues raised.

As part of the Joint Negotiating Body (JNB) the PDA team negotiates pay, terms and conditions on behalf of pharmacists in the bargaining unit. As a result of previous negotiations, we have set up an Equal Pay Joint working party with Boots with the ambition of reducing the gender pay gap and champion equality in the workplace.

I also support pharmacists on an individual basis when they find themselves encountering personal issues within the workplace. The aim is to resolve these issues informally wherever possible, but, if necessary, I use my training to represent and support members through formal processes such as grievance, disciplinary, redundancy procedures and TUPE transfers.

I would encourage colleagues to become more involved with the PDA Union at Boots and help us drive positive change, especially my female colleagues who are in the majority in the profession but the minority in leadership roles.

By Sukh Jandu, Regional Rep for Greater London South

I am one of the PDA Union Regional Reps that support members in and around London. The PDA Reps in Boots are representative of our members across the job roles (pharmacists, pre-reg, prov-regs) included in the bargaining unit, I am a local pharmacy store manager, advance practitioner and PCN lead for my area. This gives me a broad view of the issues and concerns pharmacists have, and I wanted to become a rep to amplify their voices and help improve their working conditions.

My training as a trade union representative has equipped me with a depth of knowledge and additional skills to support our pharmacist members.

The opportunity to be both a rep and a store manager simultaneously allows for a unique skill set to understand member concerns and to identify potential solutions to the workplace issues experienced by pharmacists.

In the relatively short time the PDA has had recognition at Boots, myself and my fellow reps have advised and supported 100s of members to achieve positive outcomes both individually and collectively. I would encourage all pharmacists to become members, to make your views count and to shape your pay and working conditions.

Read our latest Member Voice article from Regional Representative for Airports and Stations and London Divisional Representative, Hala Jawad: Pharmacists during the pandemic and life as a PDA rep

Health & Safety Update 

By Gordon Findlayson, Regional Rep for NE Scotland and
Divisional Rep for Scotland and Northern Ireland 

Health and safety, although of vital importance in the workplace tends to be viewed as ‘not interesting’ for many members.

Health and safety is not just about mandatory compliance training and audits, the pandemic has shown how important it is to keep ourselves, our colleagues and our patients safe in the workplace, from a new and evolving threat. In addition to the quarterly Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meetings, the lead PDA Reps for H&S within Boots now meet monthly with the Boots H&S department leaders to raise and discuss current issues.

The PDA has campaigned for appropriate PPE and lobbied for workplace infections to be correctly reported under RIDDOR to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Flu appointment times were increased from 10 to 15 minutes to support adequate cleaning procedures directly as a result of the issue being raised by PDA reps in response to concerns from pharmacists. Stores should now be displaying a zero tolerance to abuse poster as a result of PDA campaigning across the profession to end violence and abuse. The PDA also produced a Risk Assessment Tool to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections in community pharmacy.


Members who need to report an injury, disease or dangerous occurrence can do so here.

Get Involved 

  • If you have questions or concerns about any H&S matters, please contact your local PDA rep.

Share our Boots new starter booklet and other useful PDA joining materials 


We have a dedicated section of our website for PDA joining materials.

If you have any colleagues that are not yet members of the PDA, please encourage them to join the PDA today and share our joining materials so that we can support more people in the profession.You can forward this email to colleagues or signpost them to the joining materials on our website where they can read about the key benefits of joining the PDA. These resources also include our Boots new starter booklet.

Help us to help others in the profession by encouraging your colleagues to join the PDA today and help share our resources! 










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