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Home  »   Latest News   »   PDA members’ concerns raised at the most recent Regional Committee meetings

PDA members’ concerns raised at the most recent Regional Committee meetings

The PDA Regional Committees are all pharmacists and PDA members from across areas of practice who are elected to represent the wider membership. They meet to discuss current issues in pharmacy ahead of PDA National Executive Committee meetings.

Mon 23rd October 2023 The PDA

Below are details of some of the main issues that were debated at the fourth Regional Committee m of 2023.

Following the Letby case, PDA Regional Committee members discussed whistleblowing procedures.

In the community sector, members across all regions highlighted store closures, wage theft, and increased workload pressure due to the flu season. The recent Boots pay negotiations were also noted.

PDA members working in hospitals were concerned about staffing and recruitment issues, alongside the impact of ongoing strikes of junior doctors and consultants.

Locums raised the issue of non-payment of invoices and members were signposted to PDA advice as well as an event for locums which took place in October.

Northern Ireland

In the community sector, members focused on fair wages for trainee pharmacists and have written to Community Pharmacy NI (CPNI) about this issue.

There have been a couple of consultations to which NI members have provided responses to, one from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) around the use of Patient Group Directions (PGDs) by pharmacy technicians, and the other from the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) around knowledge of English regulations.


In the community sector, besides the closures and sales, some Boots branches have seen a reduction in hours, with many returning to core hours.

The Scotland Regional Committee were pleased to welcome a guest speaker from primary care, who talked about the value of independent prescribing and the Hub model in Scottish GP practices. They drew attention to the fact that this model is not fully utilising pharmacists’ skills, which is impacting on recruitment and retention.

Locums raised concerns about work opportunities having reduced significantly over recent months as newly qualified pharmacists have moved into some roles, and there has been a push from large employers to significantly reduce rates. Furthermore, members commented that short-notice closures from some large multiples are on the rise. Locums are being asked to cover split shifts between branches with no alternatives being explored if the locum declines.


Members working in community highlighted the pressures and demands placed upon both pharmacists and support staff. Inappropriate referrals, lack of stock, and increased patient demand for in-store consultations have added to staff workload and stress. Furthermore, the government’s constant changing of dates around the flu service has created uncertainty for pharmacists and patients, affecting the important planning needed to manage this very busy additional service.

In the hospital sector, the regional committee looked ahead to the Christmas Day service and emphasised that pharmacists should not be working outside their competencies. There were concerns that pharmacy resources are being affected with extra shifts expected and no leave being approved during that time.

In general, the committee were concerned about the worsening mental health of pharmacists. The committee advocated for the importance of members being aware of their rights at work in terms of stress risk assessments and access to occupational health, as well as promoting the PDA’s Safer Pharmacies Charter.

South East

The South East Regional Committee were pleased to welcome two new members who were co-opted onto the committee. Members discussed pay within Primary Care Networks, where some follow the NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) pay band scales even when they are not obliged to use this as private organisations. However, there was a 5% salary uplift since 1 July 2023 on AfC and the committee had received reports that not all members on this pay scale have received this.

Locum members were concerned about store closures announced by large multiples, alongside the refusal to negotiate with locums to keep the pharmacies open with adverse effects on patient safety.

It was also noted that it was difficult for community and locum pharmacists to work towards Independent Prescribing (IP) as there is a barrier to finding appropriate Designated Prescribing Practitioners (DPPs) or Designated Medical Practitioners (DMPs) due to lack of funding.

Wales and West

The committee hosted an event for members in the West and Wales region in September, which was successful.

In England’s primary care, the committee reported that Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) are required to make budget cuts of 30% over the next 2 years and the PDA held an event around this during October.

Matters raised by individuals and groups of members which are discussed at regional level are reported to the National Executive Committee (NEC), where PDA Union policy is set.

PDA members needing support with issues at their workplace should contact the PDA Member Support Centre, while wider concerns about developments or trends in pharmacy can be shared with their local Regional Committees.

The Regional Committees are part of the PDA’s democratic structure and are formed to represent members’ views.

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