The latest statement from RPS president Sandra Gidley follows the news that pharmacists were not in the priority list for Covid-19 testing

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says it supports proposals to increase the maximum sentence for assaults against health and care staff.

The statement was made in response to a government consultation on the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act.

RPS President Sandra Gidley write a letter to the justice secretary reiterating her organisation’s stand of “a zero-tolerance approach to abuse” of pharmacy staff, arguing that sentences should work as “deterrent to protect frontline workers”.

“We know that pharmacists have been going above and beyond during Covid-19 and we’ve been concerned about reports of abuse by a minority of the public. We’re continuing to speak to the NHS, Government, the police and across the profession so that pharmacists and their teams can look after patients safely.

“We agree with a zero-tolerance approach to any form of violent or abusive behaviour and welcome the government’s intention that frontline health and care workers have sufficient protection from the law to enable them to carry out their duties…

“…With ongoing pressures on the health service, it is vital that the NHS, pharmacy employers, representative bodies, the police, and government departments continue working together to ensure pharmacists and their teams can look after patients safely.”

The consultation, which will run for around four weeks, seeks views on increasing maximum penalty from 12 months to two years in prison.

According to official statistics, last year, more than 11,000 people were prosecuted for assaulting an emergency worker, with a quarter of those found guilty receiving a suspended sentence or immediate custody.

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