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PDA calls for an end to violence in pharmacy

As today marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work and International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD), the PDA is highlighting their longstanding campaign to end violence in pharmacies by reiterating calls for the whole sector to take proactive measures to reduce the risk of abuse and violence in the workplace.

Wed 28th April 2021 The PDA

Shocking CCTV footage released by the PDA below shows the extent of a recent attack on a pharmacist at their place of work, resulting in personal injury. On this occasion, the police were called, and action was taken.

While this is an extreme case, unfortunately, attacks in the workplace are not rare occurrences. Worryingly, some pharmacists and their teams are still subjected to violence and abuse as part of their day-to-day experience at work while delivering NHS care.

Consistently, in surveys of PDA members over the last three years, more than one-third of pharmacists do not feel safe for at least half of their time at work, and 20% reported not feeling physically safe for most, or any of the time (learn more).

Alison Jones, Director of Stakeholder Engagement at the PDA, said: “Nobody should accept being abused, threatened or assaulted as part of their job, yet too often that is the attitude that has been able to develop. Every time violence has been accepted, and the aggressor has avoided any consequences to their actions, it has condemned colleagues to greater risk of reoccurrence. That is why the PDA is reiterating the call for zero tolerance and for the sector to take further steps to protect its workforce.”

Alison continued: “The shocking footage released by the PDA today is just one example of the incidents that pharmacists are reporting to our advice line. As well as a zero-tolerance approach, further steps are needed to prevent this from happening.”

Organisations representing the employers of community pharmacists have supported the PDA’s call for a zero-tolerance policy, the PDA also welcomes the #ShopKind Campaign which sees organisations such as Asda, Boots, Morrison’s, Superdrug and Tesco sign up to encourage people returning to the high street to be mindful of the essential role that keyworkers have played during the coronavirus crisis.

The PDA is reiterating its focus for the pharmacy sector to work with them to secure the other four measures detailed in their policy, including proactive measures to reduce the risk of violence, calling on the government to help fund those measures and asking the regulator to ensure that all pharmacies are obliged to prevent violence as part of regulatory standards.

The PDA believes that the whole sector and individual employers now need to double down and make sure that the public understands that there is a genuine zero tolerance of any form of violence in all community pharmacies. The PDA encourages pharmacists to display their zero tolerance of abuse in pharmacies posters, which are endorsed by the National Police Chiefs Council, in their workplace. The PDA also wants any pharmacist that sees employers acting to the contrary of these stated commitments, to notify them immediately.

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Note to Editors

About the PDA

The PDA (Pharmacists’ Defence Association) has more than 32,000 members and is the largest pharmacists’ membership organisation and the only independent trade union exclusively for pharmacists in the UK. The PDA represents the interests and defends the reputation of pharmacists throughout their career. PDA is a member of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), Employed Pharmacists of the European Union (EPhEU) and the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC).

For press enquiries, please contact:

Shemaine Rose
PR & Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)121 513 0950


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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