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My role as a PDA Rep

In our latest Member Voice article Jyoti Saini, PDA Regional Committee and Workplace Representative discusses why they became a PDA Rep and how they have supported primary care pharmacists.

Mon 5th September 2022 The PDA

Why I became a PDA Rep 

I started my career in community pharmacy and then moved into lecturing, general practice and subsequently I have worked in primary care for the past 19 years. Whilst I was working at Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation was undertaking a management for change process in which all staff were being consulted with as we formed the Black Country and West Birmingham CCG. There were a number of unions already represented such as Managers in Partnership (MiP), Unison, and Unite.

I realised that for staff within the Medicines Management Team and the PDA were not ‘at the table’.  I put myself forward as A PDA Workplace Representative and subsequently the PDA became a recognised Trade Union on the CCG Recognition Agreement.

I was then able to support members and staff through the change in processes within the organisation by answering queries that were put forward. I was also able to sit in on consultations and take notes for members at their request.

I am extremely privileged to be voted by my peers to the PDA Regional Committee for West and Wales as a primary care rep. This role has also enabled me to share information and ideas with the group as well as colleagues within the workplace and the Region.

Supporting primary care pharmacists 

I have undertaken various training sessions as a workplace rep with the PDA. More recently the topic was Health and Safety. This has been particularly valuable since pharmacists and pharmacy staff have been on the front-line supporting patients and the public though the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some teams, mainly in primary care have also worked ‘virtually’ which in itself can be isolating and some people may find difficulty in ‘switching off’, not taking regular breaks and working over their contracted hours.

I have been able to support a number of primary care teams by providing training session on:

  • The role of a workplace rep.
  • How the PDA Union can support members.
  • It’s Time to Address Stress and how we may support ourselves to look after our own health and wellbeing.

I have been able to speak to a number of teams of PCN pharmacists in the region as well as a CCG Medicines Management Team. Although these sessions have been virtual on the Microsoft Teams platform I have been able to reach out to up to 35 people in one session alone.

The interactions, conversations and discussions included simple tips in which we can all support not only each other, but more importantly ourselves and looking after our own health and wellbeing.

At the workplace reps Health and Safety training, PDA Organiser, Clare Hirst undertook a ‘self-care’ quiz with the group. This was such a useful tool that I have used in sessions that I have run as an introduction to showcase how important looking after ourselves is. Making one small change in our daily working lives for ourselves was well received by all the attendees of the various sessions I have presented.

Simple adaptations included:

  • Having a 5 minute break outside in the fresh air.
  • Taking a walk at lunch time, even for 10 minutes.
  • Eating more healthily (bananas are a great mood booster!)
  • Keeping hydrated.
  • If working virtually, take a break from the screen and stretch your legs at least every hour.
  • Using the 20:20 rule, 20 minutes looking at the screen and then for 20 seconds look at and focus on an object in the distance.

Looking after our own wellbeing and that of our colleagues are important attributes to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. We are all in busy work situations, but we all have a duty to ensure we create open environments in which all staff can feel they can talk about any worries or stresses that they may encounter. Supporting each other enables us to create a friendly and healthy workplace, which in turn provides greater productivity, performance, and increased job satisfaction.

Please do get in touch with me by emailing if your pharmacy team would like a session to support them with any of the areas in this article.


By Jyoti Saini, PDA Regional Committee and Workplace Representative

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