PDA calls on pharmacists to share their experiences of safety in the workplace

Following the recent launch of the Safer Pharmacies Charter, PDA (The Pharmacists’ Defence Association) are calling on pharmacists to share their experience of safety in the workplace.

The Safer Pharmacies Survey addresses the key areas outlined in the Safer Pharmacies Charter. With the findings, PDA aim to persuade the government, regulators and employers to improve the working environment for pharmacists, which will in turn improve patient safety.

The Safer Pharmacies Charter was launched at the House of Commons on 5th December 2017 and consists of seven commitments to improve safety and care for patients in the UK. The commitments cover the basic areas that should be standard practice whenever and wherever pharmacy work is being carried out. These are as follows:

  • No Self-Checking – to prevent any errors, an additional, suitably trained and confident pharmacist should be available at all times to provide an independent second check
  • Safe Staffing – staffing levels need to be sufficient in order to allow all legal, contractual and regulatory obligations to be met
  • Access to a Pharmacist – a pharmacist must be available wherever patients expect immediate access to face-to-face expert advice on any medicine-related matters
  • Adequate Rest – pharmacists must be able to take at least their statutory and contractual breaks and rest periods without interruption
  • Respect for Professional Judgment – pharmacists should be able to make professional decisions in the workplace so that patient safety and professional standards come first
  • Raising Concerns – pharmacists should be able to raise concerns without reprisal or fear
  • Physical Safety – risks should be assessed, and preventative measures put in place so that patients and staff are kept safe.
Many organisations have added their support to the charter because they too want to see safer pharmacies.
The Safer Pharmacies Charter was created by PDA, a not-for-profit organisation that supports the needs of individual pharmacists and, when necessary, defends their reputation. PDA encourage more people to support the Charter and help to influence a much-needed change for the sector.
PDA are asking all pharmacists to complete the Safer Pharmacies Survey and share their experience of safety in the workplace. 

Retail workers trade union USDAW, which represents many shop workers employed in pharmacies, said: “USDAW is pleased to back PDA Union’s Safer Pharmacy Charter, we know it would be good for patients, for pharmacists and for the thousands of pharmacy workers we represent within the sector. Ultimately, having enough properly trained staff improves patient safety, the service to the customers and the working lives of staff.” 
Stephen Messham, President of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) said: “The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association fully endorses the PDA’s Safer Pharmacies Charter. It is important for the future of the Pharmacy profession that Pharmacists are empowered in their practice and professionalism to keep patients safe, and the Charter sets out the minimum standard to allow this.”
Alima Batchelor, Head of Policy at PDA, said: “We have already had thousands of responses from pharmacists but would like more before analysing and promoting the results. As a profession, we need to do all we can to keep pharmacies safe.”