The Pharmacists' Defence Association has warned it is “long overdue that all pharmacy employers take their responsibility to end violence” in pharmacies seriously amid concerns that pharmacy teams are facing increasing levels of violent behaviour from customers.
The second wave of the pandemic and latest lockdown has seen the public's reliance on community pharmacies intensify and that has reportedly seen more incidents of aggression from patients. There are concerns the pressure on pharmacies may increase in the coming weeks as some begin offering Covid-19 vaccinations.
The PDA said it was “extremely concerned” by reports from its members “that alongside the second wave of the pandemic, there seems to be a further increase of violent behaviour in pharmacies.” It called on pharmacy employers to make it clear they have a zero-tolerance approach to violence.
“Zero-tolerance is absolute and no instance of violence, whether a physical act, threat or abuse, should ever be acceptable in our members’ workplaces,” said PDA director Paul Day.
“We are calling on each and every pharmacy employer to answer the call to stop violence in pharmacies and they need to act now. To truly make such behaviour unacceptable we need to see the whole sector uniting on this issue and acting as one.”
The PDA urged employers to display one of its zero-tolerance posters or produce one of their own and called on Company Chemist Association member companies to follow Boots' example and distribute posters to their branches.