As a locum pharmacist, it’s your responsibility to know whether it’s feasible to offer services under private PGDs – you’re self-employed and hence it’s your duty to know what you can and can’t do in your remit of work. That said if I was an employed pharmacist and expected to do added services such as private PGDs for xyz – I would negotiate a higher salary and also expect paid training time to become familiar with the services because each PGD is different and as pharmacists it’s our job to be absolutely familiar and confident with what they cover or any service we offer even if the act of administering the flu vaccine is the same whether you’re administrating for a private or NHS vaccination.
That said as a locum pharmacist, if I was to offer the flu jabs, I would expect a higher rate and also depending on how long I will be working at the branch for – because we all know there is lack of communication between organisations and locums which can have a negative influence on the level of patient care being provided. If a concern is raised about you, how likely are you to find out about it? Will you be given an opportunity to defend yourself? Or will it be swept under the carpet and the pharmacist in question not booked again. Because not a lot of people want to deal with the hassle especially companies who are being run by non-pharmacists in higher management positions. As a locum pharmacist your job isn’t to drive the business, its rather to maintain it and perform the duties of a pharmacist meeting the NHS contractual obligations. Private PGDs do not fall into that scope.
A private PGD for flu vaccination is for business purposes and as an employed pharmacist you would have incentive to push these and it would be part of your performance related bonus – could be a factor in the amount of bonus you receive, career progression, etc. Plus you would get support and training to provide these services. As a locum pharmacist you have no incentive or requirement to provide private services and neither will you receive adequate level off support or training. Your job is simply to perform as a pharmacist and be familiar and competent to provide essential, advanced and to some extent enhanced services.
Companies only responsibility is to provide training for their own employees and I think private PGD services would come under mandatory training but only for their employed pharmacist. From a business perspective it’s not really cost effective for them to provide support and training to a pharmacist who could easily go work somewhere else if the opportunity arises.
Any other company who allows locum pharmacist to practice from their private PGDs. I hope they are reimbursed appropriately and paid for the amount of time it took them to train to be competent with such services. And if you don’t, you’re working for free – it’s no wonder the credibility of the profession is going down.
As a pharmacist I would also advise doing a risk assessment prior to providing any service which would include how many items you do, what hours your open, staffing levels, amount of qualified staff, competency of your team, resources available, support available (restricted opening hours), etc before offering services because some require lengthy consultations. Also to let your indemnity provider know before offering the service.
Sign the correct PGD, as an authorised signature is required from the organisation (usually the superintendent pharmacist). Most organisations send the PGD with an authorised signatory. As a locum it is this PGD you have to sign especially if you’re working in a multiple and not the one that you can download from the PSNC website.
Author: Ameena Malik MPharm