A BBC television programme – which aired last night – aimed to explore pharmacists’ concerns over “workload pressure and patient safety” at Boots, the broadcaster said in promotional materials.
The BBC claimed Boots pharmacists had told it they are so overstretched that many are forced to “take shortcuts”, including self-checking medicines.
Reacting to the programme on Twitter, pharmacy professionals said the show “didn’t scratch the surface” of the pressures that pharmacists and their teams are facing every day, and the issues are not only a concern at Boots.
#BootsonBBC there should be a programme that shows the effects of community pharmacy cuts! This show didn’t even scratch the surface in my opinion.— Ramishah Mahmood (@RamishahM) January 8, 2018
Lots of issues discussed on #InsideOut which are industry wide and not specific to @BootsUK. Hopefully it will shake things up for the better in community pharmacy in general and give pharmacists more confidence to speak out against workplace pressures #BootsOnBBC #pharmacy— Aniket Parikh (@aniketparikh) January 8, 2018
It’s not just Boots Pharmacies that are under pressure. We all are. Afraid of making a mistake every day I check medication #InsideOut— Laura (@LauraCritchley_) January 8, 2018
By the way. I worry every day about making a mistake. I consider it to be an absolute privilege to be a #pharmacist but it also makes me worry so much. Not many people/profess have to learn to live like this. #weph #pharmacy @MarieAshby #BootsonBBC #pharmacy #weph #pharmacyhour— Pharmacist Thorrun (@pharmthorrun) January 8, 2018
Greg Lawton, former professional standards manager at Boots turned whistleblower, who appeared in the programme, raised concerns with the multiple and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in 2015.
In the programme, Mr Lawton said: “I wrote a paper for the superintendent's office which set out...concerns, explained the issues with the staffing model and how that could put patient safety at risk.”
Mr Lawton – who at one stage in the programme was seen to get visibly upset over his concerns for patient safety – was praised by C+D readers on Twitter.
Well done Greg Lawton for not only bringing concerns repeatedly, then officially whistleblowing and putting name and face to that expo #BootsonBBC— Tom Gregory (@tomgregory87) January 8, 2018
#BootsOnBBC Greg Lawton, in my opinion, was a very brave man and what all pharmacists should aspire to in terms of whistleblowers.— Benjamin D'Montigny (@bend2514) January 9, 2018
Boots pharmacy director Richard Bradley told C+D this morning: “Healthcare professionals across the country are facing increasing demands and we are committed to doing all we can to support our pharmacists and ensure our pharmacies are always well-staffed and resourced to meet these needs.”
Catch up with last night's episode of Boots: Pharmacists under pressure? on BBC iPlayer here.