The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has advised pharmacists to approach the police if they face any harassment at work.

The assailant can be charged under that Emergency Workers Act, which may result in an increased penalty, it added.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 applies to England and Wales. It was debated in parliament following lobbying from the PDA and other organisations representing healthcare staff.

The bill was amended to expand the definition of emergency workers.

The Act defines an emergency worker as “a person employed for the purposes of providing, or engaged to provide-NHS health services, or services in the support of the provision of NHS health services, and whose general activities in doing so involve face to face interaction with individuals receiving the services or with other members of the public.”

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