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Boots tells staff to report ‘any pressure’ to hit Pharmacy First ‘targets’

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Boots tells staff to report ‘any pressure’ to hit Pharmacy First ‘targets’

A Boots UK stores director has said employee pharmacists should report instances of being placed under “any pressure” to hit targets for Pharmacy First.

The remarks from Mo Hassam, director of Boots stores in the South East region of England, are quoted in a report published earlier this week on the February 7 Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting between Boots UK and PDA Union representatives.

Boots representatives at the meeting are reported as commenting on the “amazing” progress of Pharmacy First from an idea to a commissioned service and acknowledging that “from the outset, feedback is important to a great implementation”.

PDAU reps raised concerns in the meeting about the training available to store teams and around “the impact on mental health of having performance reports [of the number of consultations carried out by each store] published”.

Mr Hassam is reported to have “assured the reps that the reports are not published but are held by leaders to understand spikes and identify any additional resources needed” and to have “agreed that reporting must be appropriate”.

“Any pressure being placed on pharmacists to hit targets should be raised because this is not the purpose of them,” Mr Hassam reportedly said.

The PDAU also warned that there must be “appropriate levels of competence in the pharmacy” and that pharmacists must feel confident “to say if they cannot deliver services based on circumstances,” with Mr Hassam replying that “we are all on [a] journey together and our aim is ultimately to deliver for our patients”. 

The PDA has raised concerns in recent months about its members being placed under pressure by their employers to deliver a certain number of Pharmacy First consultations. 

In April, responses to the PDA’s rolling survey on the service indicated that over a third of members had been asked to hit daily or weekly targets while 94 per cent said their pharmacy had not hired any additional staff to cope with the rise in workload.

The PDA also said at the time that some businesses had been sending out staff emails listing branches that had completed high numbers of consultations, with PDA director Pal Day warning that this risked creating “a kind of league table-like atmosphere”. 

Both Boots and the PDAU reported that the meeting was “very positive and constructive”.

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