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Insight Online – June 2023

This month, read about an increase in fitness to practise cases regarding online pharmacies, we list the ways employers should be keeping staff cool while working in the heat, and find out about the support we are offering trainee pharmacists around the assessment.

Tue 27th June 2023 The PDA

In this issue:

  • The online pharmacy model and fitness to practise
  • Pharmacists should be aware of the end of the pandemic stage of the Covid-19 virus
  • Keeping safe and well at work in the heat
  • Happy Pride Month 2023
  • Disability equality
  • Support for the Medicines to Ukraine campaign
  • Latest news
  • Supporting trainee pharmacists
  • PDA member-exclusive events
  • Enjoy a range of PDA Plus benefits!
  • Spotlight On: Morrish Solicitors

The online pharmacy model and fitness to practise

Over the last few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of pharmacists being investigated by the GPhC regarding their involvement with online pharmacies, particularly those who prescribe remotely. Significant numbers of pharmacists are appearing before Fitness to Practise (FtP) Committees with more waiting in the pipeline for cases to be heard.

One of the main functions of a FtP Committee is to decide whether a registrant is fit to be a pharmacist. The Committee judge this question on the day of the hearing and not as it was at the time when things went wrong. In regulatory terminology where there are significant concerns about a registrant’s ability to practise safely and effectively, a committee may decide a pharmacist’s fitness to practise is impaired. Without a shadow of a doubt most pharmacists can demonstrate that they are competent to routinely supply prescribed medicines to patients and they can do this without any problems, but the test ‘Am I fit to be a pharmacist?’ is not limited to the dispensing and supply function, it goes much further particularly for a pharmacist prescriber.


Pharmacists should be aware of the end of the pandemic stage of the Covid-19 virus

Recently the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the end of the Covid-19 as a global pandemic but cautioned countries not to be complacent.

At a media briefing in early May, WHO’s Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, outlined that, “For more than a year, the pandemic has been on a downward trend, with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection, mortality decreasing and the pressure on health systems easing.” On the recommendation of the Emergency Committee, the Director General stated that he had accepted the advice and declared an end to Covid-19 as a public health emergency of international concern.

However, WHO were also keen to highlight that this did not mean that Covid-19 is no longer a global health threat. The virus is still claiming a life every three minutes (of those that are reported), thousands of people around the world are being treated in intensive care units, and many millions more living with lasting effects.

We echo WHO’s call for continuing vigilance around Covid-19. We also emphasise the warning that the worst thing any country could do now would be to use the change of status announced as a signal to dismantle systems that have been built or give the impression to its citizens that Covid-19 is no longer a danger.


Keeping safe and well at work in the heat

With temperatures soaring, we are reminding employers to keep pharmacists and all other employees cool.

The HSE recommends a minimum indoor working temperature of 16°C, but there is no legal maximum. Employers should therefore be assessing the risks and putting appropriate control measures in place, such as the following:

  • Allowing flexible working including working from home: where possible allow employees to come in earlier, stay late, or work from home (we appreciate this bullet point may only apply to a small proportion of pharmacists roles) 
  • Keeping workplace buildings cool. Ensure adequate ventilation, provision of fans, and the use of blinds
  • Climate-proofing workplaces. Consider how to prepare buildings for future climate change including the installation of air conditioning
  • Keep staff comfortable. Ensure staff have sufficient breaks and access to cool drinks
  • Relaxing workplace dress codes. Allow staff to wear more casual, cooler clothing
  • Talk and listen to staff and their union. Staff may have suggestions themselves on how to keep cool at work.

Happy Pride Month 2023

Pride takes place every year in June. The month is celebrated as a way of raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBT+ community along with promoting acceptance and equality. This Pride Month, we are celebrating LGBT+ Network members and the work they have done to improve the lives of LGBT+ pharmacists in the UK.

The PDA LGBT+ Network proactively addresses and campaigns around sexual orientation and transgender discrimination and its causes and consequences. Since its launch in April 2020, the network and its members have continued to work together to campaign and improve the working lives of pharmacists in the UK and work towards a more equal world.

Learn more

Disability equality

We encourage all employers to treat all people fairly, regardless of any disability. This will not only support the well-being of disabled employees, but it will also ensure there is a fairer and more equal workplace for all.

Disputing if an individual is disabled

Sometimes an employer may dispute if an employee is disabled under the Equality Act. In such a dispute, only a legal judgement can confirm the position. For example, in a recent employment tribunal case involving the company Houlihan Pharmacy Ltd an employee’s disability was disputed, and they were dismissed from work. However, the outcome of the tribunal was that the panel was satisfied with the employee’s claim of being disabled due to the medical evidence presented.

Learn more

Not yet a member of the PDA Ability NetworkJoin today!
Learn more about the network here#PDAability

Support for the Medicines to Ukraine campaign

EPhEU welcome the support of Alliance Healthcare, Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) who have shown their support to the Europe-wide campaign by distributing posters this month.

As part of EPhEU’s Medicines to Ukraine campaign, 15,000 posters have been delivered to community pharmacies across the UK. Pharmacists have been asked to display the poster prominently in their pharmacy windows to raise awareness and encourage people to donate. Donations can be made in several ways, including through a QR code contained in the poster and via the Medicines to Ukraine website.

Learn more

Below is a summary of some of the other key news stories that have been published on our website recently:26/6/23 – PDA Reps talk communication skills at latest networking event

21/6/23 – Welcome to the June 2023 PDA Education Update

20/6/23 – PDA welcomes news that government attempts to restrict workers’ rights has been prevented

15/6/23 – PDA welcome government decision to scrap plan to end free prescriptions for 60 to 65-year-olds

15/6/23 – An award-winning student’s commitment to improving mental health in pharmacy

14/6/23 – PDA calls for tripartite discussions for community pharmacy in Scotland

14/6/23 – NAWP supports the European Women Pharmacists Meeting 2023

13/6/23 – PDA Regional Committees discuss member concerns

9/6/23 – PDA attends the annual Northern Ireland Pharmacy Conference

7/6/23 – LGBT+ Pharmacists’ Network Newsletter – June 2023

3/6/23 – BBC COVERAGE: PDA Regional Committee member discusses NHS prescriptions

Passing the assessment is the final step on your journey to becoming a qualified pharmacist and we are here to offer you support and advice during this experience and then throughout your pharmacy career. Trainee pharmacists, see below some resources designed to help you as you approach your assessment:

Withdrawal and Nullification for the June 2023 assessment

For those due to sit the June 2023 assessment, family situations or working life may mean that candidates’ ability to prepare for the exam is compromised.

As part of our ongoing support for trainees, we want to remind candidates of the two options that are available, should they have any difficulties prior to or during the assessment.

If candidates feel that their performance will be, or has been, significantly affected, they have two options, chose to withdraw or apply for nullification.

Learn more

Understanding when to withdraw and when to nullify

We are offering advice to those eligible to sit the June 2023 assessment as they enter their final weeks of preparation.

Fit to Sit

  • Only sit the assessment if you feel fit to do so. By sitting the exam you are declaring yourself fit. This means that you do not know of any reason why you cannot sit the assessment and perform to your best.
  • You may decide that you are not ‘fit to sit’ and choose to withdraw if:
  • You do not feel prepared to sit
  • You have been unwell in the lead-up to the assessment
  • You have experienced other circumstances in the lead-up to the assessment which have impacted on your preparation for the exams e.g., a bereavement.

Learn more

Trainee pharmacists can contact our Member Support Centre for advice or our charity partners, Pharmacist Support, for mental health and welling guidance.
We host a number of events throughout the year all designed to support members at each stage of their career journey. Below is just a couple of our upcoming events, please visit the events section of our website for more information.

Shaping your career in pharmacy

Saturday 8 July, 9.30 am – 3.15 pm, Birmingham City Centre

For the first time, we are bringing together early-career pharmacists with trainees and some third and fourth-year pharmacy students for a face-to-face event. This FREE face-to-face event will teach you the skills you need as your career progresses.

The full-day event will include speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities. Lunch and refreshments will be provided and we will reimburse travel for those attending the event*.

There are a limited number of spaces available, so secure your place now.

Our work in the Antimicrobial Drug Resistance field

Wednesday 12 July 2023, 1 pm to 2 pm, Online via Microsoft Teams

In response to concerns from clinicians working with the Medicines to Ukraine initiative, ourselves, along with the British Society of Anti-microbial Chemotherapy (BSAC), jointly assembled a multidisciplinary team of experts, including pharmacists, from across the UK to learn more from their Ukrainian peers about the issue.

Members are encouraged to register for our lunchtime meeting. Here PDA Policy Officer, Tasnim Khan will be joined by Bee Yean Ng, Specialist Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) pharmacist where they will be presenting a session about our work around AMR and the latest developments in the field.

Learn more and register here.

Enjoy a range of PDA Plus benefits!

As a PDA member, you can take advantage of exclusive PDA Plus offers and discounts. This includes discounts on shopping, domestic appliances, motoring, and more! If you are looking to treat yourself or for a gift for a friend or family member there is something for everyone!

Now that summer is here, many will be off traveling and taking advantage of a holiday, but sometimes the unexpected may happen. Through PDA Plus you can save 20% off travel insurance with Columbus Direct meaning that you can relax and travel in confidence should something go wrong.


Access 15% off Morrish Solicitors’ property services

With your PDA membership, you can benefit from an exclusive 15% off Morrish Solicitors’ property services. Morrish Solicitors is a well-established law firm based in West Yorkshire providing a range of legal services across the UK. Morrish Solicitors has an experienced team of residential property experts who can support you with your property transaction. They deal with both simple and complex transactions including freehold, leasehold, registered, and unregistered property.

This discount covers all areas of their property services including:

  • Residential sale and purchase
  • Investment property work
  • New build conveyancing
  • Re-mortgage work
  • Transfer of equity
  • Park homes.

To take advantage of this offer, please call Morrish Solicitors on 033 3344 9600 or simply email with your request.






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