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Pharmacy worker felt 'horrible' after being flashed by patient

A pharmacy staff member felt “betrayed” after falling victim to a serial pharmacy flasher, they told C+D.

A pharmacy staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, was left thinking it was their “fault” after a man exposed himself during a private consultation this summer.

Last week (September 22), Northumbria Police told C+D that they were investigating reports of a serial pharmacy flasher, who exposed himself to pharmacy staff in three different pharmacies across the North East between July 26 and August 2. 

At the time, officers told C+D that on all three occasions, the man requested “a private consultation and being taken to a private room”, before “reportedly expos[ing] himself”.

Speaking to C+D this week (September 26), a pharmacy staff member involved in one of these incidents said that the encounter was “uncomfortable” and “horrible”.


“I couldn’t believe it”


They stressed that pharmacy staff “come to work [and] don't expect to have something like that [happen]”.

“At the time, I did feel uncomfortable about it…but I thought it was my fault, like I hadn't said the right things, or that he was really embarrassed,” they told C+D.

“I was just trying to probably make an excuse for him,” they said.

“I couldn't believe it when I found out that he'd been going around different pharmacies,” they added.

They told C+D that when they realised what had happened, they felt “betrayed” and “thought about it a lot” to figure out “what [they could] do differently next time, so it doesn't happen again”.


Not the first time 


While the staff member had never been flashed at work before, they told C+D that something similar had “happened…before, over the phone”.

“It was a similar kind of thing where someone was acting as if they wanted to have a consultation,” they said, adding that the caller was “taking advantage” and “being rude…it wasn’t very nice”.

They said it was “a bit shocking” as they’ve “only been qualified [for] three years and it's happened twice now”.

"It would be interesting to know if it's happened to other people,” they said, adding that patient confidentiality means “you don't you don't really speak to each other about what went on in the consultation”.


Greater awareness


The staff member highlighted that if “there was more awareness that things like this happen”, they might not have thought twice about whether it was an “accident” or “acceptable" when the incident happened.

They added that “next time” they wouldn’t be “as forgiving”.

They said that they “would tell other pharmacy workers about it” and that “if [they] had a pre-reg come in” they “would definitely tell them that it's something that can happen”.

Northumbria Police said that enquiries into the incidents remain ongoing.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, you can contact Pharmacist Support by emailing [email protected] or calling 0808 168 2233/0808 168 5133 for free.


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