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Pharmacists at big multiples face health and wellbeing challenges, PDA Union survey reveals


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Too many unreasonable demands placed on pharmacists by employers affect their health and wellbeing at work, a stress and wellbeing survey conducted by The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union revealed.

The survey, conducted during Autumn 2021, covered views of over 2,000 pharmacists employed by big multiples – Lloyds, Boots, and Well.

This survey used questions developed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which enabled the union to understand more about stress and wellbeing in three of the largest community pharmacy multiples.

Analysing the survey, the PDA said that some pharmacists working for each of the three employers highlighted “unachievable targets, unrealistic time pressures, and most worrying of all reported numerous instances of bullying and harassment.”

An overwhelming majority of the respondents reflected personal sacrifices made by the pharmacists to ensure patient services are not impacted by the poor conditions and environments in some pharmacies.

“The stress levels are immense. Staff levels are ridiculous and I often have to work parts of the shifts or even the whole shift alone as there are no dispensers available. The introduction of the new computer system made it worse, as it is not fit for purpose.

“We are being shouted at by customers several times a day, getting insulted for not being able to get prescriptions done faster,” PDA quoted a member as saying.

Collette Bradford, PDA director of Organising and Engagement said: “The results of this independent health and safety survey have demonstrated the extent of work placed pressure of those on the frontline in the UK’s largest employers of pharmacists.”

“While some employers peddle the myth of an overall pharmacist shortage, the facts have shown that there are in fact more registered pharmacists than ever before and the PDA has long concluded from listening to our members that the real issue preventing some employers from filling all their shifts is unacceptable working conditions.”

She added that the latest survey covered pharmacists at just the three largest chains, and other employer surveys are planned.

The association will share the survey results with the employers where relevant Health and Safety committees exist and will publish further results from respondents from each employer over the coming weeks.


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