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PDA responds to NPA proposals for Day of Action, urges fair treatment for pharmacists

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“Employers must not adjust pharmacists’ pay and schedules for day of action,” the director of pharmacy, PDA, Jay Badenhorst says 

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has written to the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) to highlight several important points regarding their proposed “day of action” on 20 June 2024.

The NPA describes this initiative as a response to the “emergency across the community pharmacy sector.”

In a letter addressed to NPA Chair Nick Kaye and Chief Executive Paul Rees, the PDA’s director of pharmacy, Jay Badenhorst stressed the need for NPA members to consider their obligations to staff and patients before participating in the planned actions.

He stated, “We are supportive of a new contractual framework for the community pharmacy sector.”

“However, any actions taken must ensure the safety of patients and the operational integrity of pharmacies.”

The PDA’s letter also expressed concerns over the safety and operational impact of the proposed symbolic gestures, including turning off lights and blacking out windows.

The PDA emphasised that the Responsible Pharmacist (RP) has legal duties to ensure the safe operation of the pharmacy and should be able to exercise professional judgment without undue influence.

The organisation has urged the NPA to inform their members of these considerations to avoid potential disruptions and ensure the safety of patients.

While the proposed actions include symbolic gestures, one of the major concerns rasied by the defense association is the possibility that some NPA members might opt not to comply, potentially leading to pharmacy closures of up to two hours.

“Employee and locum pharmacists are not party to the contractual dispute between your members and NHS England, which has prompted the proposed day of action, and they should not come under pressure to participate,” the letter said.

“Employers must not unilaterally adjust pharmacists’ normal pay and working patterns to accommodate this activity.

Likewise, any existing agreements on locum pay for that day must be honoured in line with the contract for services.”

The PDA also firmly stated that employers must not unilaterally adjust pharmacists’ regular pay and work schedules to accommodate these activities.

Furthermore, any existing agreements on locum pay for that day must be upheld in accordance with contractual obligations.

Response to the NPA’s “Save Our Pharmacies” day action

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) is distributing new campaign materials to pharmacies across England to support its “Save Our Pharmacies” initiative ahead of the upcoming general election.

This campaign aims to highlight the financial pressures forcing pharmacies to close at an alarming rate.

NPA Chief Executive Paul Rees stated, “Pharmacies are under crushing financial pressure. We want to help them join our efforts to raise the profile of the funding crisis and make the public and politicians fully aware of the threat to our much-loved pharmacy network.”

The campaign materials include posters, stickers, postcards for patients to send to MPs, and petition resources, designed to mobilise public support and influence policy makers and NHS managers to address the funding crisis.

The NPA revealed that 177 pharmacies closed between January and April 2024, a nearly 50 per cent increase from the same period last year.

The association is working with other pharmacy leaders to rally public support and create favorable conditions for successful contractual negotiations in England.

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