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Insight Online – August 2023

This month, learn more about how the PDA is calling for regulation of non-registered managers in healthcare, the Westminster government’s Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill, and a number of upcoming online events and workshops available to PDA members.

Tue 29th August 2023 The PDA

In this issue:

  • Following the Letby case, the PDA calls for regulation of non-registered managers in healthcare
  • Pharmacists report being victims of ‘wage theft’
  • Government’s Strikes Bill becomes law
  • PDA Education Summer School
  • Being a pharmacist with schizophrenia
  • Financial statement to members – 2023
  • Latest news
  • The Pharmacy Show: 15 – 16 October 2023
  • Upcoming events and workshops
  • Enjoy a range of PDA Plus benefits!

Following the Letby case, the PDA calls for regulation of non-registered managers in healthcare

Lessons still need to be learned around the role of leadership, management, and candour when clinical harm occurs.

The victim impact statements from families of the babies murdered and harmed by Lucy Letby describe the harrowing and tragic consequences of her actions. The handling of the case also demonstrates why lessons still need to be learned when clinical harm occurs and questions are rightly being asked about the role and accountability of senior managers.

Following the conclusion of the criminal case and sentencing, the government ordered an inquiry to identify system failures and to make recommendations around how such tragic events can be avoided in the future.


Government’s Strikes Bill becomes law

The Westminster government’s Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill has now been passed and will become law, despite the opposition of trade unions and the efforts of many members of the House of Lords to challenge it.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 now means that workers in health, education, fire, transport, border security, and nuclear decommissioning who vote to strike could nevertheless be required to work, and sacked if they refuse to do so.

We believe that exercising the right to strike when negotiations break down is a fundamental right. It’s not one that pharmacists would ever use lightly and, even then, it means trade unions navigating tough legal restrictions, including winning a ballot, which must be conducted by post, and must be won by high thresholds. It also means workers being prepared to lose pay for the days that they’re on strike.


Pharmacists report being victims of ‘wage theft’

We have received reports from members that some employers are not paying the full amount pharmacists are entitled to under their contract.

‘Wage theft’ is the generic term for the denial of wages or employee benefits rightfully due to a worker, such as underpaying the contractual pay rate, not paying for all hours worked, or not paying an individual their full holiday entitlement. It can also include where a pharmacy contractor withholds payment for services provided by a locum.

Employment or locum contracts may vary, and pharmacists should always keep a copy of their own contract. The contract should set out rates of pay and what is required to earn that pay. If further work is required by the employer, then this should be paid in accordance with the contract or by an agreement made above and beyond the original contract.


PDA Education Summer School

After a successful first year, the PDA Education Summer School has returned with FREE online courses for all PDA members. This year the courses cover CV-writing and useful interview tips, building and maintaining relationships, developing effective teamwork, and being a mentee.

The PDA Education Summer School launched last year and explored various topics, including mental health and wellbeing. Taking into consideration the feedback from PDA members, PDA Education has developed a number of courses designed to help members feel more confident, build and maintain relationships, and develop effective teamwork.

Learn more

Being a pharmacist with schizophrenia

An anonymous rotational pharmacist and PDA Ability Network member has shared their experience of working as a pharmacist with schizophrenia. In this article, they discuss the stigma attached to schizophrenia along with the challenges they have faced.

A few years ago, I wrote an article for a PDA newsletter about being a pharmacy student with schizophrenia. Since then I have graduated, sat the registration exam, and found a permanent job as a rotational pharmacist in a local hospital.

Learn more

Financial statement to members – 2023

Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amended), the PDA Union is required to circulate to all members key financial information along with details of the salary and benefits provided to the General Secretary and any other members of the National Executive Committee.

Learn more

Below is a summary of some of the other key news stories that have been published on our website recently:28/8/23 – Coroner’s Regulation 28 Report

24/8/23 – PDA member, Soh Xi Ken will be speaking at an Anti-Racist Conference

21/8/23 – PDA responds to GPhC’s consultation on draft changes to registrant fees

17/8/23 – PDA responds to the MHRA consultation to make Codeine linctus a prescription only medicine

4/8/23 – Opportunity to contribute to global survey on community pharmacy conditions

1/8/23 – Pharmacy Supervision Practice Group – Update and outcome


The Pharmacy Show: 15 – 16 October 2023

We are once again proudly supporting The Pharmacy Show – the UK’s only dedicated trade show and education conference designed for the community and primary care pharmacy sector.

We will be delivering several sessions at the show this year. On Monday 16 October, we will be running a session titled ‘Neurodiverse and disabled pharmacists, securing workplace inclusion.

Mark Pitt, PDA Director of Defence Services will be leading this session which will take place at 10.25 am in the Business Theatre.

Why attend this session?

With many employers facing recruitment and retention challenges, every employee should matter, yet too often talent is wasted due to failure to secure the full contribution of individuals that happen to be neurodiverse or have some form of physical or mental health condition. This session shares learning from the PDA Ability Network as to what needs to change to ensure disability is not a barrier to full inclusion.

We host a number of events throughout the year all designed to support members at each stage of their career journey. We also host events with our charity partner Pharmacist Support and as an affiliate of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) we promote training opportunites they have available for PDA members. Below is just a couple of our upcoming online events, please visit the events section of our website for more information.

PDA Education Summer School 2023: FREE online courses for all PDA members

The courses available until 15 October are:

  • Building and maintaining relationships
  • Being a Mentee
  • CV writing and interview skills
  • Developing effective team working

Learn more and register here.

GFTU Training – FREE online and face-to-face training for all PDA members

The courses available until 1 August 2024 are:

  • Bitesize sessions on equality, employment law and more
  • Why are wages falling and profits rising?
  • Roots of Racism
  • Big picture seminars including – media bias and the search for the truth.

Learn more and register here.

Winter vaccination service meetings for PDA members at Boots

Following on from the success of the PDA’s previous member evenings, the PDA Reps Network at Boots will be holding a series of free meetings to discuss the Boots winter vaccination service.

Date: Monday 4 September and/or Monday 16 October 2023
Time: 7.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Location: Online via Microsoft Teams

Learn more and register here.

The science behind wellbeing workshop 

We are pleased to be working with our charity partner, Pharmacist Support on a FREE workshop that has been designed to help members manage stress and improve their mental health.

Date: Tuesday 26 September
Time: 7 pm – 8.30 pm
Location: Online via Microsoft Teams

Learn more and register here.

How to survive your trainee year

PDA Education and the PDA Early Careers Network are holding a free session to support new trainee members as they settle into their trainee year.

Date: Thursday 28 September
Time: 7.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Location: Online via Microsoft Teams

Learn more and register here.

Locum Matters Workshop

This online webinar will give attendees the chance to learn more about the pitfalls and positives of being a locum.

Date: Tuesday 17 October 2023
Time: 7 pm – 8.30 pm
Location: Online via Teams

Learn more and register here.

Enjoy a range of PDA Plus benefits!

As a PDA member, you can take advantage of exclusive PDA Plus offers and discounts. This includes discounts on shopping, domestic appliances, motoring, and more! If you are looking to treat yourself or for a gift for a friend or family member there is something for everyone!

If you are looking to save some money on your trip to the cinema then Cinema Society can provide you with the best-priced ticket for your next Cinema trip*. There are over 300 cinemas participating in the offer and you can take advantage of the discount as often as you like! Some of the cinemas participating include Empire, Showcase, Reel, Cineworld, and ODEON.

*Discount level varies depending on location, cinema, and peak/off-peak showings.


The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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