COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Home  »   Latest News   »   PDA Regional Committee members meet to discuss the key issues in pharmacy

PDA Regional Committee members meet to discuss the key issues in pharmacy

The PDA Regional Committee is made up of pharmacists from across the profession that are elected to represent the PDA wider membership. The committee meets to discuss current issues in pharmacy ahead of PDA National Executive Committee meetings.

Fri 1st March 2024 The PDA

Below are details of some of the main issues that were debated at the first Regional Committee meetings of 2024.

The Pharmacy First Service (PFS) was a popular topic discussed by most of the regional committees. Members highlighted various concerns ranging from training, workload, and remuneration to antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic stewardship, clinical risk and safe practice, and the relationship between pharmacies and GP surgeries.

The PDA has clarified member queries and provided reassurance about indemnity insurance arrangements through a series of advice articles available to all members. PDA members are also being asked to share their ongoing feedback and experiences of the PFS.

Across the nations, members debated the proposed changes to supervision and hundreds attended PDA events on this issue (PDA Chairman Mark Koziol was the keynote speaker at the events). PDA members made their voices heard and were encouraged to submit their own responses to the consultation.

Additionally, Boots store closures and changes to the employees’ pension scheme were emphasised as an ongoing concern. The PDA Reps Network in Boots continues to support members and anyone affected should contact the PDA Member Support Centre for assistance.

Northern Ireland

‘In community, new commissioned services have been implemented and are running well around UTIs and antibiotics supplied under PGDs, with a sore throat pilot currently being tested. Extra pharmacist cover is vital for the successful running of this new service which is limited due to there being no formal booking system. Medicines shortages remain a continuing problem with some large multiples unable to source stock routinely which occupies a lot of pharmacists’ time.

In primary care, a new computer software system is being rolled out. There are currently some challenges with the system’s interface with secondary care, particularly lack of clarification around the roles and responsibilities of different healthcare professionals interacting with it, which is impacting on patient care.

In the hospital sector, there is overcrowding in A&E departments often with standing space only for patients. There is not necessarily a lack of beds but there is reduced flow through the hospital from admission to discharge, with holdups occurring at the point of discharge due to a lack of social care packages in community. For pharmacists, this means that there is a high workload pressure.

Furthermore, it has been announced that funding will be made available for 200 more trainee pharmacist places in this sector. Traditionally there have only been 2 funded places per hospital with a 6-month rotation in community. This additional funding will have implications for the community pharmacy workforce.


In Scotland, a member working in the hospital sector was co-opted onto the committee and will continue to help the committee to represent the wider membership.

Some PDA members attended the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Women’s Conference and put forward a motion around menstruation which gained unanimous support.

In primary care, members discussed changes to the roles of healthcare staff, with some people in roles at lower levels being encouraged to take on work which would normally sit within the remit of a pharmacist.

Locums raised concerns about their difficulty accessing training as there is no funding available for them, pointing out that it is hard to keep up the minimum hours required to maintain their licenses if not in employed roles with places to practise. It was also discussed that locum work is reducing and therefore making work harder to find.


The North Regional Committee commented that they were proud of the PDA’s recent stance in raising questions around the GPhC’s recent letter. They highlighted how the lack of resources, workload pressures, and safe staffing levels are issues of ongoing and significant concern to pharmacists every day.

Members working in community debated the BBC undercover investigation about online pharmacies, along with wider concerns around online prescribing of prescription only medications. They called for clarity around what safeguards are in place and debated what should be in place to protect both the pharmacist and the patient. The PDA has been lobbying the regulator for some time on the challenges of online pharmacies.

Another area covered by the committee was Independent Prescribing (IP) training.  Whilst there are courses available the barriers in place make it difficult for many to access. This includes financial constraints, time restrictions, DPP availability, availability of university places, and lack of employer support. Committee members believe that opportunities around IP have come so far but, seem to be falling at this last hurdle of accessibility and opportunity.

In primary care, members discussed the PDA’s GP work satisfaction survey. A key ongoing concern for members is that they feel that there is a lack of adequate supervision.

In the hospital sector, committee members highlighted that the number of vacancies continues to be outstanding and that there is a shortage of consultant pharmacists. The doctors’ strike continues with hospital pharmacists affected through increased workload and difficulty booking annual leave. PDA members continue to support the aims of their doctor colleagues who should continue to work within their competencies and job roles.

In the locum sector, there has been an increase in members seeking support around their status with regards to HMRC. They were signposted to the PDA’s most recent advice on this.

South East

The South East Regional Committee dedicated the whole of their meeting to discussing the PFS. They noted the importance of the service and its implications across different sectors of pharmacy as well as for other healthcare professionals.

Wales and West

Regional committee members noted that in community in Wales there has been a move to electronic prescribing. They welcomed the increase in funding from Community Pharmacy Wales.

In primary care, the focus was on Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) Funding in England which facilitates non-medical clinicians joining GP practices. There were conversations around starting salaries and clinical progression.

In hospital pharmacy, members acknowledged continued problems with retention. Additionally, the Agenda for Change banding means that progression is a lot slower to achieve the same salary as in community pharmacy.

In the locum sector, the committee commented on the reduction of rates.

Matters raised by individuals and groups of members which are discussed at a regional level are reported to the National Executive Committee (NEC) where PDA Union policy is set.

PDA members needing support with issues at their workplace should contact the PDA Member Support Centre. Wider concerns about developments or trends in pharmacy can be shared with their local Regional Committee.

The Regional Committees are part of the PDA’s democratic structure and are formed to represent members’ views.

Get involved

Learn more

Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.






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.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)