Layer 1

PDA: “An absurdity” to report locums for negotiating higher rates

Locums must negotiate rates individually with the client or agency, the PDA said

It would be an “absurdity” and “abuse of the regulatory system” to report locums to the GPhC for negotiating higher hourly rates, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said.

A statement issued by  General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) chief executive Duncan Rudkin earlier this month (March 19) warned pharmacy professionals against “profiteering to take selfish advantage” of the COVID-19 outbreak, either with “prices of shortage products or locum rates”.

Doing so “risks bringing the profession into disrepute at a time when public confidence generally is so fragile and so important”, Mr Rudkin said.

In a response published yesterday (March 30), the PDA said it  “understands the sentiments” of the regulator as vastly inflated locum rates during the pandemic could “undermine wider public confidence in the profession”. However, the GPhC has “no other legitimate regulatory interest in the commercial rates agreed between locums and their clients”, the organisation added.

“To refer a locum to the GPhC for simply negotiating a higher hourly rate would be an absurdity and an abuse of the regulatory system,” The PDA said.

Community pharmacy locum rates must be “individually negotiated” between the locum and the client or through a locum agency, something that is an “important element of a free market arrangement”, the PDA said.

“It is unlawful for employers acting together, or by conspiring with a locum agency, to seek to manipulate market rates and inhibit free market conditions,” it  added.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has “extensive enforcement powers” when it comes to any individual or comapny that behaves in this way, the PDA said.

Anti-competition law

The PDA highlighted that the same anti-competition rules that apply to  businesses also apply to locum pharmacists too

Although negotiating rates is part of the supply and demand model in a free market economy, locums who “discuss how they might seek to fix a minimum market rate”, boycott pharmacies or “are seen to encourage others to take advantage of the pandemic situation” risk CMA sanctions, the PDA said.

The organisation said it will defend locum members who “act responsibly” against regulatory or other complaints

32 Comments
Question: 
Have you worked locum shifts during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

I'd really love to see someone refered for this so called inflated rate. I'll personally go see Cap'n Moore and together we'll do ten score laps and one to raise a penny or two and take the case to the highest court in the land...and finally get someone to explain why pharmacists are earning in some cases £16/hr, thats 50% of what they earned 20 or so years ago or at least have a go at defining "inflated" in a legal sense

Daneil Kumar, Locum pharmacist

I asked for £25/h for emergency cover. All my shifts got cancelled. I would not book any work as pharmacist untill the situation improve. 

Ian Scott, Primary care pharmacist

It comes down to basic business.  Locums charge as much as they can and businesses pay as little as they can.  Remember locums get no paid annual leave or sick leave, no company pension and absolutely no job security.  That is why locums charge more than contracted pharmacists.  If employers treated contracted staff better then more would want to be contracted and less would want to be locums, that goes for community and hospital.

Ebers Papyrus, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The GPhC should have already facilitated locally registered pharmacists willing and able to asisst in their locailities. This could be via an alias email address linked to the regulatory body to protect identity and thus pay consideration to GDPR. They are well aware of the shortage and vulnerability of pharmacies as pharmacists are having to work ridiculous hours with unrealistic workloads. The next bombshell will be the Easter Bank Holiday forced directive.

It's important for locums to appreciate that cash flow nightmares for contractors means they simply cannot afford to pay the rates the market demands. So action is needed by NHS England, DH and GPhC to assist where they can. We don't need lip service we need action.

 

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

Cue the usual community pharmacists on here who moan about the incompetent GPhC, yet do nothing about it, and pay their annual membership fee.

Why don't you do something about it for a change?

How High?, Community pharmacist

This is why we'll never win. Doctors have the BMA and a coherent voice, nurses the same.

Us?

We fall over ourselves to stab each other in the back to gain a nomination here and a nomination there and then argue about rates of pay and talk aout shaming other members of the same profession.

Divided we fell..... a long time ago

Independant t Thinking Pharmacist , Locum pharmacist

 

“It is unlawful for employers acting together, or by conspiring with a locum agency, to seek to manipulate market rates and inhibit free market conditions,” it  added.

Hope the Gphc and CMA are going to look into why all the major employers enforce the "standard" rate and reduced rates whilst shouting the Market forces of supply and demand Mantra when questioned. 

stewart blakey, Community pharmacist

Form a unified professional Union, ballot the members, STRIKE. Close ( or at least threaten to ) every Pharmacy in the UK.......Then negotiate. No more DOORMATS!!

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

The GPhC is charged with protecting the public, has NO remit for how much pharmacists earn, and under what conditions they are work. They call it an employment issue. So why the sudden interest? If they think it is a misdemeanour, then working conditions and possible toxic management culture can not be set aside.

The successive governments over 30+ years have chipped away on the pharmacy head-stone and recently marked it RIP in the current format.

The public is abusive in some cases because the surgeries have forced CP on the ropes. There is no spare human capacity to deal with the SARS-Covid crisis without capital injection for extra staffing. Volunteers are not qualified dispensers or pharmacists.

The people at the coal-face are in danger of exhaustion - never mind a virus. The risk of severe errors is accelerated, but once again the GPhC will dismiss it under the 'employment' issue.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Exhaustion !? If reports are to be believed Corona is killling people !!

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

The GPhC is charged with protecting the public, has NO remit for how much pharmacists earn, and under what conditions they are working. They call it an employment issue. So why the sudden interest? If they think it is a misdemeanour, then working conditions and possible toxic management culture can not be set aside separately, as 'management matters'.

The successive governments over 30+ years have chipped away on the pharmacy head-stone and recently marked it RIP in the current format.

The public is abusive in some cases because the surgeries have forced CP on the ropes. There is no spare human capacity to deal with the SARS-Covid crisis without capital injection for extra staffing. Volunteers are not qualified dispensers or pharmacists.

The people at the coal-face are in danger of exhaustion and physical assault - never mind a virus. The risk of severe errors is accelerated, but once again the GPhC will dismiss it under the 'employment' issue.

After steady financial attrition, closure of premises only just getting started and other complex matters such as getting rid of experienced pharmacists on trumped up charges for cheaper slaves, what does the so-called regulator expect? Are they seriously expecting such personnel to forget how they and their tired team have been treated by employers now we have a real crisis?

Greatly Pedantic and Highly Clueless, Senior Management

Regulatory capture is an economic theory that says regulatory agencies may come to be dominated by the industries or interests they are charged with regulating. The result is that an agency, charged with acting in the public interest, instead acts in ways that benefit the industry it is supposed to be regulating.

Does this remind you of a certain regulator?

CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

For Duncan Rudkin to be mentioning an issue that is primarily employment not a regulatory issue at this critical time shows how misplaced his priorities are. 

Remember after all these years as CEO people or Companies that own Pharmacies are not legal persons before the General Pharmaceutical Council. This is why he can mention silly stuff like this. This only happens in the UK, where a Company owning a Pharmacy is regulated via the Premises they operate. 

So this makes it easy to bully the Professionals who are subject to fitness to practice procedures and resulting penalties. In Duncan Rudkin's lifetime as CEO can someone tell me if any Pharmacy owner has been subject to any Procedure or penalty resulting from misconduct or Premises failing the required GPHC standards. We know the answer. Yet Pharmacy owners are critical in the Health and safety of patients, a Role that Big Dunc and his pistoleros say they are there to protect. How do you protect patients health and safety without regulatory or statutory control of Pharmacy ownership?  Companies and men who own football clubs in the United Kingdom are subject to fit and proper regulatory and statutory fitness checks. Yet, if General Ratko Mladic is acquitted at the Hague he can without a doubt own the next Pharmacy chain in the UK, no questions asked. It just too ghastly to contemplate. In the meantime, Duncan Rudkin is fuming and frothing at the mouth, just at the prospect of Locum Pharmacists negotiating rates consistent with the service they are proving. It is sad.

Sara Baco, Community pharmacist

Is this a joke?! Years of reducing locum rates by pharmacy owners and now they have the cheek to say anything when locums ask for a decent rate. Going to work during a pandemic puts your life at risk, why would anyone want to do that for £20 an hour?!
I hope all locums put their rates up and keep them up

Thamina Pinky, Locum pharmacist

Let’s work as a team guys. Don’t take the profession down the drain by accepting low rates. Managers and locums in this group are pharmacist professionals. Look after one another. In this current situation rate should not be less than £40. Some one posted in C and D that even a plumber gets paid £80-£90 per hour in an emergency. Right now we r working without personal protection as front line, so what do we deserve!!!!!

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

This bullying has all started from one particular locum agency, they have the word 'T.£.a.m’ in their name.  They have for years colluded with the shoe shop and a cream company to keep the rates disgustingly low.  This as resulted in me leaving the profession and doing something completely different.  They had blacklisted me as a locum, they let slip by mistake the one day.  The main owner and a specific consults, their name rhymes with B*tch often threatens you will silly things!!!

Perhaps the CMA should pay a bit more attention to them!!  See my twitter Brumiboi for more

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

This is simply the law of supply & demand. However, I believe that should a locum be taking the .... sorry, taking an unfair advantage, then that is a matter, not for the GPhC but for the pharmacy community 'grapevine' where such footpads will find themselves out of favour. Most locums have good relationships with the people they work for - as the old saying goes, you scratch my back...

Tarvinder Juss, Locum pharmacist

The PDA statement was helpful and timely.

 

Greatly Pedantic and Highly Clueless, Senior Management

I'm sure Duncan would be delighted to work on the front line for £19 per hour. I'd happily clap him to work if he was doing a shift in a prescription factory.  We're all in it together.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I charge more for Christmas - It's a busy time and I know I'm needed. Likewise, I would charge more if there's a date I didn't want to do, unsociable, or I know that the company has a very slow payment turnaround for shifts to balance.

Likewise, those I have a good relationship with or offer a bulk deal I would negotiate a lower rate for the promise of additional work.

As it stands at the moment it is very much a strong negotiating point for locums currently. With the additional risks, abuse, and need for locums, it is no wonder higher rates are asked for.

And ultimately, if a rate is too high, a company is free to negotiate with a different locum.

Seal Patel, Community pharmacist

Its funny how when employers slumped the rate GpHC had no statement or issue with it. But soon as the tables turn they come out kicking and screaming.
The profession has been put into disrepute not by locums but by the actions of the people in charge. Im sure Mr. Rudkin would place himself on his self centered high horse and pass judgement on locums wanting to make a few extra pounds when he hasnt helped them at any stage stop those few extra pounds been taken away.

We work in a profession which is watered down and made to look like an irrelevant cog in the NHS by people above. Sorry but locums shouldn't feel ashamed or even named if they want to put themselves in danger by naming their price.

Ex Superintendent , Locum pharmacist

I think you mean the GPhC not the PDA

 

Seal Patel, Community pharmacist

I do.. Correction edited

S M, Locum pharmacist

What are you on about with your naming and shaming. Grow up.

Rates haven't been touched for the past decades, to follow the inflation even the slightest. In fact it has gone down in some places even though the services have increased and the workload is turning unbearable. If you have read one page of any economy book, things follow supply and demand. Locums are not the ones dealing with NHS, it's you and the multiples who are not capable of  negotiating the right price for the services provided by the pharmacy and turned this profession into a charity a shop or something that is abused daily by the gov and NHS, free this free that (deliveries just one of them, which is now back firing as evidently seen). And then being all cheery that we have been acknlowedged by the PM or the health secretory, well, if they really want to thank us for our work, how about spending some money towards the absolutely underfunded pharmacy. They don't even provide PPE in the right quantities for the front line to start with anyways. Pharmacist train 5 years, some even 10+. Expertise+shortage+Emergency short notice Shifts+ high risks being at the front line and falling critically ill = high appropriate rates (just pick a phone and call a plumber and see how much they charge for an emergency, let me save you time 80-90 pounds an hour)

Either find a locum who loves to work for free or pennies, or open the shop yourself taking all the coughs then getting paid 80% of your wage by the gov, while the locums get nothing if they become sick or have to self isolate.

 

P M, Community pharmacist

if locums do ask for higher rates (a lot higher).. they should be named and shamed on social media .. seen this a lot on facebook with corner shops selling toilet rolls..

its so horrible the locums would think twice about doing it

H Gokul, Community pharmacist

PM COMMUNITY PHARMACIST

Are for real?

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

thats fine name and shame....... how would you like it if your fraud and low pay was exposed??

Tim B, Locum pharmacist

Since I am retired but now on this 'emergency list' I will charge what I deem appropriate. If it is refused then the pharmacy can always try elsewhere. The pay is way below what it needs to be to retain quality people who will ultimately vote with their feet. I, for one, am so cheesed off by being told that this is the rate , like it or lump it , and having to accept it because I needed the work. Now the boot is on the other foot and the big boys don't like it one bit - please don't preach to me about national emergency, pulling together or community spirit - that has all been driven out of me by treatment received from contractors over the years. Fair pay for damned hard work is NOT reflected by the pre pandemic rates. As for social media - **   ***  **** off because I really don't care . What morons to 'threaten' that

 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

You would advocate libellous comments on social media and encourage hate towards these people for asking to be paid? I think you'd find many would be shocked at how little they are getting paid compared to other professions.

Honestly PM...Shame on you. 

P M, Community pharmacist

I did say a lot higher..

Pages

Job of the week

Pharmacist
Cayman Islands
Up to US $60,182 per annum (Tax-free salary) + benefits