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Professionalism lies with pharmacists, not pharmacies

I managed to struggle through the informative article on the issue of Boots pharmacists union recognition (PJ 2014;291:104). In essence, it seems to me that Boots seeks to negotiate with Boots Pharmacists’ Association, which does not deal with pay and conditions, and is fighting tooth and nail to avoid recognition of the PDA Union, which would have precisely that function.

In place of an effective trade union, this company, owned by private equity, prefers to have a sweetheart relationship with its own in-house association.

It is ironic that, after years of lobbying, we have persuaded the NHS that patients should make pharmacy their first-line call for health advice. Indeed substantial advertising is now seeking to propagate this philosophy. This is ironic because Boots, the largest retailer, has been promoting “buy-one-get-one-free” deals and seems to turn its dispensing function into a production line activity to be carried out in the smallest possible area in large retail stores.

The quality of advice that can be given by pharmacists attempting to supervise 20,000 prescription items per month must inevitably be compromised. Surely the pharmacy contract should be with the pharmacist whose professionalism cannot be compromised by large multiple companies.

Graham Walker

Totnes

Devon

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11137460

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