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Contractor launches petition calling on government to stop violence in pharmacies


Contractor launches petition calling on government to stop violence in pharmacies

By Neil Trainis

Community pharmacist and former National Pharmacy Association board member Mike Hewitson has started a petition urging the Government to give pharmacy staff access to a security fund that would help put in place measures to stop them being subjected to violence and abuse.

Mr Hewitson (pictured) said his “biggest fear” was that ministers will continuously refuse to address the situation “until a pharmacist is found lying in a pool of blood” and cited his own personal experience of aggression and violence from some patients.

He said he had been threatened with stabbing and been robbed at Beaminster Pharmacy in Dorset.

“While most patients treat us well, a minority do not. In my patch, as the pressure on the NHS has grown, so has the abuse and violence we face,” his petition said.

Last year, the then health secretary Sajid Javid announced a support package for GPs that included a £5m security fund designed to tackle abuse from patients and could go towards security mechanisms such as CCTV or panic buttons in the practice.

Mr Hewitson, who wrote a piece on violence in pharmacies in the Daily Telegraph in June, also used his petition to insist that “underfunding and an overstretched workforce have brought us to our knees,” leading to pharmacy closures, and called on the government for more funding.

“Too many local pharmacies have been forced to close. And it can often feel like pharmacies are an afterthought when it comes to Government and NHS leaders. Local pharmacies need your help,” he said, appealing to the health secretary Steve Barclay “to provide access to additional funding for local pharmacies to deliver a safe secure environment for staff and to help more patients.”

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