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The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has raised concerns over “a prominent pharmacist’s call to create a sector ‘blacklist’ for locums regarding disputes over rates.”

A few contractors took it to the Twitter to share screenshots of the messages by locums demanding more pay, which led to the call for ‘blacklisting’ those locums.

“The motivation regarding the current talk of creating a blacklist seems intrinsically tied to hourly rates. Although there are occasional and isolated anecdotal reports on social media of alleged incidents of locums seeking higher rates than already agreed, these are far outstripped by reports of pharmacy businesses unwilling to negotiate and who do not want to pay the necessary rate to engage a locum and instead have set capped or fixed rates,” said the PDA.

It added that all parties should honour agreements they enter into, including a pharmacy’s commitment to the NHS that it will open at set times to provide pharmaceutical services to patients and the public.

The organization reiterated that it will request an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority if there was evidence to support a finding that two or more pharmacy businesses had colluded together to set a maximum rate they will pay locums. The PDA has revealed that it has got feedback from locums that some ‘unrelated pharmacy businesses’ in the same area all have the same capped maximum locum rate.

PDA also explained that a “blacklist” requires creating and maintaining a record containing individuals’ data. “The list owner must consider that everyone responsible for using personal data must follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles.”

“It is unclear how those businesses having discussions about creating a blacklist believe the above rules and rights would be met. This includes how a locum would be notified of their inclusion on a list and the reasons that justified it,” the organization noted.

The PDA also stated that the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklisting) Regulations 2010 penalize the listing of trade union members for the purpose of discrimination against them. Under the regulations:

  • It is unlawful for anyone to compile, supply, sell or use a ‘prohibited list’
  • It is unlawful for an employer to refuse employment to a job applicant, to dismiss an employee, or to subject an employee to any other detriment for a reason related to a ‘prohibited list’
  • It is unlawful for an employment agency to refuse to provide its services to an individual for a reason related to a ‘prohibited list’.

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