The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has expressed concerns over Boots UK’s decision to reduce supplemental opening hours at some pharmacies.
The association stated: “Some pharmacists and other staff at Boots are being notified this week of changes to opening hours at their place of work, with local briefings taking place. The PDA are supporting their members to deal with any potential impact on their employment.”
It said that reducing pharmacy opening hours would affect patients’ access to a trusted healthcare professional, especially if it is being done by the largest community pharmacy multiple.
It even called upon the NHS to adequately fund community pharmacies to ensure they remain open when patients and local communities need their services.
Meanwhile, Boots management has informed PDA that most of its employees are not pharmacists, and “less pharmacists are expected to be directly impacted by these changes than other colleagues,” PDA said.
The association has also raised with the management that there may be local concerns about safe staffing levels.
It highlighted that overall daily and weekly pharmacy tasks “must be achievable during the revised hours and any suggestion that existing activity can simply be compressed into less hours is unrealistic.”
Besides, some PDA members have also reported concerns over resources in the available hours amid challenges of providing a safe working environment for patients and staff.
PDA stated that the company representatives have confirmed that pharmacists having such concerns must raise the issue with their line manager.
The association has offered to provide specific advice to members who are unsure about approaching safety concerns.