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Home  »   PDA UnionLatest News   »   PDA Regional Committees discuss the recent PDA general practice pharmacist work satisfaction survey

PDA Regional Committees discuss the recent PDA general practice pharmacist work satisfaction survey

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

Fri 14th July 2023 The PDA

Below are details of some of the main issues that were debated at the third Regional Committee meeting of 2023:

Regional Committee members discussed the results of the PDA’s general practice pharmacist work satisfaction survey. The survey was launched in May 2023 following issues being identified such as inappropriate expectations, working beyond competence, lack of training and support, and risk of marginalisation. The survey focused on pay, training support, safe working, and changes to IETP and the results will inform future PDA work.

Northern Ireland

In April, the Northern Ireland (NI) Healthcare Awards took place. The PDA sponsors the Student Leadership Award in NI, Wales, and Scotland every year and this year’s NI winner was Adam O’Neill, a pharmacy student at Queen’s University Belfast. PDA National Officer for NI, Una O’Farrell presented the award. Later in the month PDA members attended the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) strike rally at Belfast City Hall and prepared for the upcoming ICTU biennial conference.

PDA Chairman, Mark Koziol joined a panel of renowned speakers at the Northern Ireland Pharmacy Conference 2023 in May. Una O’Farrell also attended the conference and shared her experience.

The PDA is the recognised trade union in the GP Practice Federations in NI and PDA members had raised issues regarding their employer’s provision of indemnity insurance for pharmacists.

Scotland

Most discussion amongst the Scottish Regional Committee members was around community pharmacy. Reports suggest that negotiations between the Scottish government and the pharmacy owners’ body, Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) have broken down. As the independent voice of the frontline employed and locum pharmacists that deliver the contract, the PDA wants to see an agreement found for the benefit of patients, taxpayers, and health professionals.

Additionally, members noted that LloydsPharmacy closures are having a significant impact on the workload in neighbouring pharmacies. Several medium-sized pharmacy chains as well as multiples are increasing in size by purchasing numerous LloydsPharmacy sites, such as Davidsons who have purchased various businesses in Tayside. Rowlands has purchased 30 branches across central Scotland and the PDA has been in touch with members affected. These members will be supported to ensure that they are properly subject to a TUPE transfer (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) as they should be when a business changes ownership.

In the locum sector, members reported an increase in inappropriate referrals from GP practices, with requests for pharmacists to carry out tasks outside of their scope such as the replacement of dressings.

North

Community pharmacists raised that there is a lack of clarity over funding for the new contraceptive service. Members are concerned that agreeing funding at a national level will not guarantee reduced workload pressures or safe staffing levels in line with the PDA’s Safer Pharmacies Charter.

In the hospital sector, the NHS Pay Deal remains a hot topic across the various unions. As the junior doctors’ strike continues, the impact in local hospitals seems to be lessening as adaptions and affected workloads are becoming normal practice. PDA members are advised to continue to work within their competency and job role.

South East

In community pharmacy, ASDA has announced pharmacy closures and the committee drew attention to the PDA’s useful guide on redundancy for affected members. Members also discussed the challenges the sector faces, considering funding and workload, particularly with the winter scheme moving a lot of work from GP practices into the community pharmacy sector.

Members in primary care highlighted the reluctance of some PCN pharmacists transitioning from remote working to patient-facing activities due to a lack of confidence or competence, particularly amongst those who qualified during the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, there was discussion around the new GP contract and the potential issues it raises for the future role of pharmacists.

In the hospital sector, it was noted that several hospitals are running high vacancy levels due to difficulties in recruiting new pharmacy staff over the last few months.

Locum members highlighted the impact of 100-hour pharmacies being allowed to reduce to 72 hours per week on locum pharmacists’ work availability. The new regulations introduced on 25 May allow a 5-week notice of reduction in hours, resulting in a reduction of 28 hours per 100-hour pharmacy.

Wales and West

In community pharmacy, the Wales and West Regional Committee remarked on the high demand in the sector with pressures on pharmacists heightened by shortages and the potential for new services to be introduced posing concerns in terms of funding and capacity. Members are also concerned about self-checking in line with the PDA’s Safer Pharmacies Charter.

In Wales, the multi-sector placements for trainee pharmacists are proving contentious in terms of whether they are able to develop the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience they need to become confident pharmacists.

In primary care, members noted a high turnover of pharmacists due to inexperience and being pressured to work outside of their competence. PDA members are advised to only work within their competency and job role.

In hospital pharmacy, the committee noted the Agenda for Change pay increase and the Health Secretary’s announcement on NHS non-pay measures.

Matters raised by individuals and groups of members which are discussed at the 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. Wider concerns about developments or trends in pharmacy can be shared with the local Regional Committee.

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

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