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PDA calls on Community Pharmacy employers to match NHS statement on violence

The PDA welcome a commitment from NHS England regarding their support for any employee that is a victim of violence or abuse at work, and call on community pharmacy employers to make similar public statements

Fri 10th September 2021 The PDA

Pharmacists and other staff employed by the NHS have once again received a commitment of their employers’ position on violence at work, however many community pharmacies are yet to make similar statements.

Recognising that violence and abuse has featured in many NHS workers’ professional lives, the joint statement from Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Medical Director for Primary Care and Ed Waller, Director for Primary Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement, published in the weekly NHS England Primary Care Bulletin on 9 September, said:


…During what is the biggest healthcare crisis in a generation, we’ve worked to make sure we can deliver services in new and different ways, to maintain care and we’ve had to do this at speed, while we know also that some people’s care and access to treatment has unavoidably been disrupted despite the best efforts of the health service.

Unfortunately, we have received reports that members of staff, including colleagues working in primary care, are being subjected to abuse.

Everyone has the right to be safe at work, and we want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that violence and aggression towards NHS staff is totally unacceptable. Anyone with concerns should raise concerns with their managers or employers. Staff facing abuse will always have our support and that of their local system…


Read the full NHS E&I Primary Care Bulletin here.

The assurance that staff will always have support and that any level of aggression is totally unacceptable reiterates the NHS’ public commitment to zero tolerance of violence against staff. However, while pharmacists can call upon that pledge if an incident occurs while they are working in the NHS, there is often no such commitment when they are working for community pharmacy employers.

During 2020, the three main Community Pharmacy Employer representative bodies – AIMp, CCA and NPA – each committed to adopt zero tolerance of violence, however the results of the PDA Safer Pharmacies survey continue to show the vast majority of pharmacists still feel physically unsafe at least some of their time at work.

Meanwhile, some community pharmacy employers are concerned about how many pharmacists are leaving the sector, and struggle to attract pharmacists to work for them either in an employed or locum capacity. The PDA call on those employers to recognise that improving working conditions and well-being, as well as rates of pay, are factors in addressing this situation and encourage them to take action.

Improving the perception, and reality, of safety and delivering a commitment to zero tolerance of violence would be one step towards improving an aspect of working conditions. The PDA call upon all community pharmacy employers to make clear statements to employees, to patients and to customers, about the consequences of any act of violence on their premises.

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