Almost half of pharmacists have experienced abuse in the past six months, finds RPS survey  

Data from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's workforce wellbeing survey have revealed 44% of pharmacists have experienced physical or verbal abuse in the past six months.
queue of angry customers in pharmacy

Nearly half of pharmacists have experienced physical or verbal abuse in the past six months, a Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) survey has found.

The data is part of the RPS’s latest workforce wellbeing survey, with full details due to be published early in 2023. Of 1,496 respondents across Great Britain, 44% said they had experienced physical or verbal abuse in the past six months, the majority of which was from a member of the public or a patient.

The statistic was published by the RPS on 21 December 2022, which the Society has designated “Be Kind Day” — the culmination of a month-long campaign urging people to show kindness to their pharmacy teams this winter.

The campaign has seen several high-profile pharmacy figures from across Great Britain sharing the “Be Kind” message through videos — including Jason Leitch, the Scottish government’s national clinical director, David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, and Jonathan Simms, chair of the Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee.

Commenting on the campaign, Clare Morrison, director for RPS Scotland, said: “I know that the video messages that we have been delivering throughout December have resonated with both pharmacy teams and the public, and hope that this has reminded the public to give the gift of kindness to pharmacy teams during a particularly challenging time.”

Earlier this week, in a joint letter to the pharmacy profession, the General Pharmaceutical Council and the four UK chief pharmaceutical officers said that “everyone working in pharmacy is continuing to experience high and sustained demands and pressures”.

The letter added that there were “worrying reports of pharmacy teams experiencing abuse and even violence from members of the public. Any abuse of pharmacy staff is completely unacceptable and robust action should be quickly taken in response to any incidents, including by law enforcement”.

Commenting on the letter, Laura Wilson, RPS Scotland practice and policy lead, said that “winter always brings extra pressure for pharmacy teams and this year the antibiotic supply issues have been an additional factor.

“We agree that any abuse is unacceptable and it is vital they are able to do their job safely and don’t feel threatened or in danger whilst at work. We hope that our ‘Be Kind’ campaign has reminded the public to be patient and kind to pharmacy teams at a particularly challenging time.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, December 2022, Vol 309, No 7968;309(7968)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2022.1.170554

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