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PDA ‘at a loss’ over logic of GPhC’s workplace pressure plan

PDA chairman Mark Koziol: Too little, too late

Organisation is "very disappointed" by the regulator's decision to hold a stakeholder event in October to address pharmacists' concerns

The Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) is "at a loss" to understand the logic of the General Pharmaceutical Council's (GPhC) plan to launch a "programme of work" on workplace pressures.

The regulator announced on Wednesday (June 15) that it will address the issues raised in a PDA survey – that revealed concerns about target pressures at the multiples – at a stakeholder event in October.

Results from the union's survey made international headlines after the Guardian used them as part of its coverage alleging that Boots encourages its pharmacists to conduct unnecessary medicines use reviews (MURs) for profit.

"Very disappointed"

The PDA is "very disappointed" by the GPhC's reaction to its survey findings, it said today (June 17).

The regulator's planned stakeholder event on the topic – which the PDA will attend – is positive because "at least some form of action is better than none", it said. But the GPhC appears to be "reluctant to take firm action against the corporates", it stressed.

Media reports of pharmacists' workplace pressures following the Guardian coverage resulted in the "good name" of the profession being "tarnished in the eyes of the public", the PDA said.

Hundreds of pharmacists who responded to the safety survey complained of "alarming" working conditions and "expected more" from the regulator, the PDA added. 

Too little, too late

PDA chairman Mark Koziol said the GPhC's plans for a stakeholder event are "far too little and far too late". The PDA "sincerely hopes" that the regulator allows "grass roots" pharmacists to attend the event so they can share their concerns, he said.

"Surely the role of the regulator must be to protect the interests of patients and to underpin the professionalism of pharmacists, not to appear to behave like an apologist for large business interests," he stressed.

C+D podcast on pressures

Last month, Mr Koziol told C+D he was unapologetic over the PDA's decision to raise reports of MUR abuse to the Guardian. Listen to C+D's interview with Mr Koziol here.


How do you think the GPhC should deal with workplace pressures?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Brian Austen, Senior Management

It would have been very easy for the GPhC to set up an independent ombudsman to investigate complaints from pharmacists about their employers failure to deal with their complaints of unreasonable and unprofessional work pressures. It is obvious that they do not have the will and do not want to provide the resources to do so. Incidentally where is the RPS in this. They should be advising and supporting their members.

Concerned pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Hopefully the PDA will further consult with members to gain a consensus view to take to the stakeholder event.

Very few "grass roots" pharmacists will be able to attend - they are too busy keeping their jobs by doing meaningless MURs - but most will support the PDA position. Those  employees of multiples who do attend may be risking their future employment

There is strength in numbers - if we can't attend in person then take the concerns in some other way.

Without this, the danger is that the corporate multiples will once again use their strength and influence and dictate to a weak GPhC.

We need change and should support the PDA in their approach.


Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I have contacted theProfessional Standards Authority about the Gphc's lack of action I would encourage other to do so, the more complaints the better I think.  I will also be contacting my MP about this to. 

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

PDA are a good union for pharmacists and if they have doubts about GPHC work place plan then it is right for them to challenge it, and hopefully make some progress on the relevant issues.

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Who is going to attend, not the individual down trodden pharmacists. Even if they attend they are unlikely to say anything  on the record for the fear of victimisation

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

Uma, I agree with that especially since certain companies are also going to be present! I suggest you check out the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 - definately worth a read!

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

'An apologist for large business interests'

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

Thank you PDA - I suggest we divert payment away from GPhC and to yourselves, for being bold enough to tackle these issues.

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

definitely - call it PDhc

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