National pharmacy bodies have called on the government and NHS leaders to take appropriate action to keep pharmacy teams safe from violence and abuse.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) — in collaboration with the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) — is supporting an important petition started by Mike Hewitson, a community pharmacy contractor, who has been threatened with stabbing and robbed in his own pharmacy.
The PSNC and the other national pharmacy bodies strongly believe that no healthcare professional should have to deal with this, that and pharmacists and their teams should be better protected.
It said: “Community pharmacies play an integral role in the delivery of primary care and most patients are highly appreciative of the hard work of local pharmacists and pharmacy teams from dispensing medicines and administering vaccines to providing medical advice and health monitoring services.
“However, a minority of patients are not and far too many pharmacy staff are experiencing violence and abuse just for doing their jobs. As an invaluable member of the NHS family, pharmacies should have access to the same security funds that other important areas of primary care like GPs do.”
PSNC’s recent Pharmacy Pressures Survey of 1,132 staff from and 418 bosses of 5,000 pharmacies found that 75 per cent of pharmacies have seen patients turn aggressive when told they cannot have the medication they have been prescribed.
According to survey, 49 per cent of staff say patient abuse is undermining their mental wellbeing and 90 per cent of pharmacy business owners/head office representatives said that they were concerned about the wellbeing of their pharmacy team(s).
PSNC’s support of the ‘Stop violence against local pharmacies’ petition is part of its work with the other pharmacy organisations to continue to raise awareness of the pressures on the sector, including highlighting the abuse that pharmacists and their teams are increasingly experiencing.
PSNC chief executive Janet Morrison said: “Abuse of community pharmacy staff, or any other healthcare professional, is never acceptable, and all in a position of responsibility must make this clear. The increase in abuse of pharmacy staff during the pandemic was an unfortunate trend, but the evidence suggests that abuse directed at pharmacists and their teams is growing in frequency and severity.
“We would very much encourage everyone to sign this petition. The more signatures this petition has, the more credibility it has and the more seriously the Government will have to take this issue.”