COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Home  »   Latest NewsInsight   »   Insight Online – October 2023

Insight Online – October 2023

This month, read about the pressure to work after testing positive for Covid-19, how you can support patients to save money on their prescriptions, and our response to a recent DHSC consultation. Also, learn about our session at CPC North and a revision programme for those due to sit the November 2023 assessment.

Tue 24th October 2023 The PDA

In this issue:
  • PDA cannot support the DHSC’s proposal for the use of PGD’s by pharmacy technicians
  • NHS England launches prescription savings campaign
  • PDA members raise concerns of Covid-19 positive staff being pressured to still attend work
  • Withdrawal and Nullification for the November 2023 assessment
  • Increase in members seeking advice on sexual harassment incidents
  • Joint statement from Boots and the PDA Union on the 2023 pay deal
  • Latest news
  • CPC North: 3 – 4 November 2023
  • Revision programme for those sitting the November 2023 assessment
  • Enjoy a range of PDA Plus benefits!

PDA cannot support the DHSC’s proposal for the use of PGD’s by pharmacy technicians

We recently responded to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) consultation on the proposal to enable registered pharmacy technicians to supply and administer medicines under a patient group direction (PGD).

The proposals from DHSC would enable registered pharmacy technicians to use PGDs across England, Wales and Scotland in any setting, including the NHS, independent and voluntary sectors. The DHSC also state that the proposal is supported by all four nations of the UK (even though pharmacy technicians are not yet registered or subject to regulation by the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland).

The consultation paper highlights that PGDs should only be used where there is clear benefit for patient care without compromising patient safety and where there are clear governance arrangements and accountability.


NHS England launches prescription savings campaign

Recently, NHS England launched a prescription savings campaign to raise awareness of ways patients, particularly those living with long-term conditions, can save money on prescriptions.

Patients in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland do not pay prescription charges. We are an active member of the Prescription Charges Coalition working to have these charges removed in England too. However, in the meantime, we are highlighting NHS England’s current efforts to minimise charges so that members practicing in England can alert patients to this possibility.

Information for pharmacists to share with patients

  • People living with a long-term condition may be able to save money on their prescriptions.
  • A Prescription Prepayment Certificate will save people money if they pay for more than 3 items in 3 months, or 11 items in 12 months.
  • People on a low income could be entitled to help with NHS costs or free prescriptions depending on their circumstances. People can check if they’re eligible for help in minutes using this online eligibility checker.

PDA members raise concerns of Covid-19 positive staff being pressured to still attend work 

We are reminding Responsible Pharmacists (RP) that they play an essential role in deciding what is safe for patients and colleagues in the pharmacy, when faced with staff members at work who have tested positive for Covid-19.

Regrettably, updated guidance issued in March 2023 by the UK Health Security Agency may have been misinterpreted by some employers to mean that pharmacists and pharmacy staff who ‘feel well enough’ despite having tested positive for Covid-19 could still attend work.

Not only would this interpretation increase the risk for staff and customers in general, but Covid-19 positive pharmacists who are part of the autumn vaccination campaign might be instructed to continue to participate in the vaccination service, which would expose the most vulnerable patients to risk of infection.


Withdrawal and Nullification for the November 2023 assessment

For those due to sit the November 2023 assessment on Thursday 2 November, the impact of family situations or working life may mean that candidates’ ability to prepare for the exam is compromised.

As part of our ongoing support for trainees, we want to remind candidates of the two options that are available, should they have any difficulties prior to or during the assessment.

Learn more

Increase in members seeking advice on sexual harassment incidents

President of the PDA NAWP Network, Ayah Abbass discusses the rising issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, what we are doing to help, and what employers need to do to protect their workers.

Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any situation and the PDA works with other unions, PDA Representative Networks in employers, and stakeholders to help eradicate any instances of sexual harassment that pharmacists may face in the workplace.

Learn more

Joint statement from Boots and the PDA Union on the 2023 pay deal

Following on from a consultation with PDA members a joint statement has been agreed with Boots.

Learn more and read the joint statement here.

Below is a summary of some of the other key news stories that have been published on our website recently:23/10/23 – PDA members’ concerns raised at the most recent Regional Committee meetings

22/10/23 – PDA comments on NHS employers calling for funding to increase pay in NI

21/10/23 – FIP report on pharmacist-led common ailments schemes

20/10/23 – PDA attends the Pharmacy Show 2023

18/10/23 – Welcome to the October 2023 PDA Education Update

18/10/23 – NAWP Spotlight launches to celebrate World Menopause Day

17/10/23 – PDA Reps share best practices around inclusivity

9/10/23 – One week until the launch of ACTNow

8/10/23 – Health, Safety and Welfare training

7/10/23 – Welsh Pharmacy Award Winners 2023

6/10/23 – PDA to present motion at STUC Women’s Conference 2023

5/10/23 – Pharmacist Support science behind wellbeing event hailed a success

3/10/23 – An insight into stress and wellbeing in the workplace

2/10/23 – NHS Pharmacists’ Newsletter – October 2023

1/10/23 – Breast Cancer Awareness Month Member Voice – ‘I found a lump!’


CPC North: 3 – 4 November 2023

We are proud to be supporting CPC (the Clinical Pharmacy Congress) North as it heads to Manchester for the first time. The exhibition has been designed for healthcare professionals specialising in clinical pharmacy.

The event, which will be held at Manchester Central Convention Complex, will bring clinical pharmacy professionals together to be inspired and network with their peers. They will also be able to access valuable content to support their continuing development.

We will be delivering a session at the show this year.

Managing the risk of antimicrobial resistance from conflict zones (lessons from the war in Ukraine)

Friday 3 November, 12:45 pm to 1.15 pm, Strategy Theatre

The Employed Pharmacists of Europe Federation (EPhEU) has been actively involved in getting vital medicines to Ukraine, alongside helping understand the risk of antimicrobial resistance caused by conflict and the displacement of populations. This issue needs to be understood and considered an emergency. Whether caused by natural disaster or war, there is a need for decision-makers to act around AMR strategy and how practitioners care for patients.

Confirmed speaker for this session:

  • Oksana Pyzik, Senior Teaching Fellow / UCL Lead Outbreak of Infection Diseases & Global Citizenship programme

Learn more about the speaker here.

PDA trainee members who are sitting the November 2023 assessment have access to our FREE Revision Programme. The programme, created by experienced pharmacists with backgrounds in writing assessment questions, will help to prepare you for your assessment.

This self-directed online programme includes:

  • Over 100 practice questions
  • Multiple practice case studies
  • Two timed mock ‘exams’
  • Revision tips
  • Guidance on the process for sitting the assessment
  • Guidance on what to do if you do not pass
  • And more!

To register, please click here. You will have access to the materials straight away and can register from now until 3 November 2023.

This Revision Programme is exclusively available to PDA members. If you have friends or colleagues who are trainee pharmacists and would like to access the programme, please encourage them to join the PDA for FREE here.

We would like to remind you that the GPhC do not release mock exam papers or past papers, so please be wary of any providers claiming that they have access to past papers.


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!

Are you looking to save money on your everyday spending? with the TOTUM Professionals discount card and app you can save on over 350 brands online and on the high street, such as 10% off at the Co-op*, ASOS, and many more. For now you can get a 15-month TOTUM Professionals Membership for the price of 12-months (just £14.99). Head to the PDA Plus section of the PDA website to learn more!









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.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)