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Pharmacist Support: Take responsibility for workplace stress

Diane Leicester-Hallam: A lot of pharmacists "feel disgruntled at the moment"

Pharmacist Support's chief executive has urged pharmacists experiencing workplace pressures to try to "make a difference themselves".

Speaking exclusively to C+D at the local pharmaceutical committee conference earlier this month, Diane Leicester-Hallam stressed the charity exists to support the profession, but said: “We’re not always going to tell you what you want to hear; we’re going to give you a slice of realism."

Ms Leicester-Hallam – who also attended the General Pharmaceutical Council’s event on workplace pressures last month – agreed with its verdict that “this is not an issue the regulator can take on alone”.

“It’s about enabling people to make their own decisions,” she said.

“Every profession has targets and every year they change. In pharmacy, it might be medicines use reviews one year, then flu vaccinations the next, but targets aren’t always a bad thing. You just have to find the right balance.”

She recognised that “a lot of people feel disgruntled at the moment”, but stressed that “it’s hard to know why people think it should be any different, if they are not prepared to actually make a difference themselves”.

Pharmacist Support is launching new workshops next year, focussed on mental health and greater awareness of others, Ms Leicester-Hallam added.

Have you gone to Pharmacist Support for advice?

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Looking at the comments from the subject of this article, will C+D be issuing an apology and a retraction in the next issue? I feel sorry for the representative because we've all (myself included) been tearing strips off her when it's been a hack job from C+D all along.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

This organisation has been carrying out wonderful work for many decades. I know of pharmacists who felt they had been helped by making contact. This is funded by pharmacists for other pharmacists, take a look at thesite( and tell me you don't sense even a touch of pride. 

The article appears to be made up of random quotes with all their context removed. It is, however, absolutely true that all forms of help and support involve 1) being told things you don't want to hear and 2) being told that only you can make the change. 

The only thing that can save employee/locum pharmacists is collective action through a trade union and this is not the role of Pharmacist Support. 

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

I think they have probably been badly misrepresented by the C+D and this is the issue most commentators have. 

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Thumbs down from the C&D staff then?

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

It is peculiar how such a strong emphasis was placed on telling employee/locum pharmacists to accept targets, wake up to reality and to blame themselves. This coming from a discussion with an organisation that does genuinely support struggling pharmacists. Interestingly, the interviewee suggests a degree of misrepresentation.   

It is has a symmetry with how the sceptical positions of many employees/locums are often omitted or subjugated in the discussion of services. It is as if the technique of selective reporting is being used represent employee/locums in one light and contractors in another.  


Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Similar to the selective reporting regarding the sore throat scheme - if we are to believe the C&D then every pharmacist is behind it. However the comments on here would suggest otherwise.

Grace Lewis, Editorial

C+D has always been, and continues to be, a huge supporter of the vital work Pharmacist Support does every day, and we are in no way trying to imply the charity does not take pharmacists' issues seriously. We are looking into Ms Leicester-Hallam's concerns.

Grace Lewis, C+D News Editor

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Where are all the thumbs down coming from???? Surely no-one supports this article? Even the writer doesn't!

Sharon Stone, Communications

Why shouldn,t pharmacists take responsibility for themselves??? . They are highly educated people and should know when they're being overloaded and should be strong and say no to the selfish employers. if you all said no to excessive pressure then there wouldn't be a problem instead of saying its everyone elses fault. Instead of "b*tching on C and D, go and do something about it.

Log on to an MP,s website and bend their ear. Log on to NHS england and tell them. If you all did it they'd get p*ssed off and might finally get the message and act.

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

I am a locum and would certainly not get bookings if I stuck my neck out too far  for what is right and didn't do exactly what they demand.Since the government cuts were announced.

I can feel the pressure increasing with greater intensity and is becoming intolerable.This will help neither patients nor the unfortunate people who have to work in these conditions.

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

What exactly is the point of posting a perfectly acceptable reply only to have it heavily edited.What happened to free speech?Not good.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

It's like on the Guardian website Comment is free. It very much is, BUT only if it's the "right" kind of comment!  

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

This editor seems to be well versed in censorship, most like due to certain relationships which essential for the running of C&D

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Bit rich editing the comments out when the credibility of the article itself is being called into question by the very person interviewed?

Diane Leicester-Hallam, Senior Management

Please be assured that Pharmacist Support takes the upmost care to provide high quality responses and support to everyone who approaches us and uses our services.  This "article" was constructed from a conversation which spanned at least three separate topics and then pieced together and published without warning or approval. I am concerned by the way in which it represents both the charity and me, as this is completely inaccurate and I sincerely hope it does not prevent someone from reaching out for help when they really need it.   

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

First rule of pharmacy - NEVER let anything leave without your approval

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Then I hope you will be speaking to the author and asking for a re-write! 

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

This is probably the biggest pile of drivel I have read in C+D. It seems that Pharmacist Support is TOTALLY out of touch with what those of us at the coalface are experiencing. If this is the 'support' we get from those who are nominally on our side, what chance do we stand with those who plainly are not, ie the multiple contractors?

It's ridiculous to say that the targets may be 'MURs one year, flu vaccines the next'. Don't they realise that the targets are ALL of them EVERY year?

****as an addon posted later - I'd like to apologise to the representative from Pharmacist Support. It seems she was misrepresented badly*****

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

Not a supportive article at all. How do you propose that pharmacists help themselves, more importantly are you aware that many have already tried this approach? Other than performance reviews, being classed as a pharmacist who isn't good at their job an many other accusations by a manger, it does not get anywhere. This is one of the reasons the regulator was approached in the first place. I think your article should address "How pharmacists can tackle bullying in the workplace"!

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

What an absolute load of rubbish. How exactly are  pharmacists to "make a difference themselves"? Refuse to do the MURs, NMS, over-time, etc? That will certainly alleviate the workplace pressure - you won't have a workplace! I'm struggling to see why this article was even written - utterly pointless and adds nothing to the debate - just like the GPhC input!

This article is just sloppy journalism and an insult to hard-working pharmacists. Why can't you expand on exactly how pharmacists can help themselves? Why can't you interview some pharmacists who have tried to help themselves? Maybe interview some contractors to get their input? Lazy, lazy journalism. Come on C&D, you can do a lot better...

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Pubished so that C&D can say they're concerned with workplace pressure. They can then swiftly get back to the real important stuff such as hyping/promoting Boots services.

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