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PDA: 'We're doing what the DH programme board failed to do'

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) plans to launch a campaign to encourage debate on the controversial pharmacy supervision proposals, its chair has announced.

Mark Koziol said “there hasn’t been an open debate” on supervision since the government programme board was launched, and said it was down to the PDA to “to do what the [programme board] has failed to”.

Speaking to delegates at two Pharmacy Show sessions on Sunday and Monday (October 8-9), Mr Koziol said the PDA is planning a “loud” national media campaign to engage patients and safety groups, and has joined with the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) to draft a pledge for pharmacists, pharmacy organisations and student bodies to sign.

The PDA will be holding events across the UK to discuss the pledge and “to make sure we reach all pharmacists in this important debate”, Mr Koziol said.

The PDA campaign is in response to C+D's exclusive revelations last month, that detailed proposals for pharmacy technicians to be handed legal responsibility for supervising the supply of prescription-only medicines (POMs) had been submitted to a Department of Health (DH) programme board.

In response to C+D's coverage of the proposals, the PDA held two emergency meetings at the Pharmacy Show to announce its plans to engage the profession, the government and patients, and “stop remote supervision”.

Tackling “secret meetings”

Mr Koziol also confirmed that the PDA and the NPA sent a joint letter to the chair of the government’s programme board, Ken Jarrold, last week to request an “urgent meeting”.

“We need some clarity. What are the timeframes? What is this consultation [on the proposals] likely to look like?” he asked.

“Having secret meetings, frankly by a bunch of people hand-picked by the government, is not a good situation. We need to establish a situation where we as a profession reclaim the supervision debate,” he added.

Mobilising the sector

Mr Koziol also announced during the emergency sessions that the PDA plans to launch its patient safety charter in parliament in November, which “focuses on the role of the pharmacist in patient safety” and the importance of having pharmacists present in pharmacies at all times.

The organisation will publish an “extensive” piece of research into the pharmacy technician model, and has commissioned research into new models of pharmacy.

It will also publish its second report on the future of community pharmacy – Road Map 2 – in December, followed by a national conference in March 2018.

Mr Koziol called on community pharmacists to engage with their patients, flag any “sympathetic” MPs to the PDA, and get involved in the “intelligent debate” around pharmacy supervision.

“When you see the national media campaign, that’s your cue,” he concluded.

Catch up on all the tweets from the Pharmacy Show with C+D's Storify.

How else can the sector join in the supervision debate?

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