A trainee dispenser felt like an “emotional wreck” after a pharmacist allegedly threatened that she would be kidnapped by four men in a black van if she did not date his child son
The British pharmacist has been found to be fit to practise at a videolink hearing conducted by the UK’s General Pharmaceutical Council, after conditions were placed on his registration in 2019.
Documents available from the GPhC are heavily redacted, but indicate that the pharmacist, who worked at the time in a Lloydspharmacy in Devon, demonstrated a range of behaviours towards a staff member identified as Person 9.
In 2016, Person 9 was working as a trainee dispenser, and was 35 years old. The pharmacist was her mentor and provided the training she needed to complete her qualifications as a dispenser.
At the 2019 hearing, the GPhC found her a credible witness and could not establish any reason for her to make up the allegations against the pharmacist.
The behaviour included putting his arm around Person 9, which was noticed by colleagues, who told him not to do it.
In another incident described at the 2019 hearing, the pharmacist allegedly grabbed Person 9 by the arm when she attempted to walk away from him, and asked her “can you not count?” when she made dispensing errors.
One witness said the pharmacist made a series of inappropriate comments to Person 9 and described the subject of these comments as “an obsession”. Another gave evidence that they felt it was inappropriate for the pharmacist to be arranging a date for a colleague.
While the GPhC documents redact the exact details of these conversations, the Daily Mail reports that the pharmacist had been trying to arrange a date between the 35-year-old trainee dispenser, and his own seven-year-old son.
According to the Mail, the pharmacist allegedly said he would “book a date for her and his son” and claimed the son loved the trainee.
The publication alleges that when the pharmacist grabbed Person 9’s arm after she had attempted to walk away, he said “you be with my boy” and claimed that she had already agreed to marry the boy.
The hearing found the remarks to be inappropriate.
The GPhC also noted that on one occasion when Person 9 was moving about the pharmacy intending to have a script signed, the pharmacist blocked her into the dispensary and said, “if you keep saying no to XXXXXXXXXX (Redacted), a big black van with four big men will come, kidnap you, blindfold you and take you away, you would not know where you are”.
Person 9 said that while the pharmacist said this in a serious voice, he was smirking at the time.
After a colleague told him to leave her alone and then left, he said, “you would like that wouldn’t you; would like being treated rough”.
Person 9 immediately reported this incident; the colleague who had seen part of the incident described her as an “emotional wreck” when they were discussing it, and was crying and shaking.
Person 9 told the colleague that she was afraid the pharmacist would find out where she lived and would see him while out walking her dog; she told another colleague she could not sleep at night.
She also alleged that the pharmacist “would get inappropriately close to her, brush past her, be in her working space, and touch her shoulder with his shoulder. She said that when he was close to her she could feel his breath on her”.
One witness described an occasion when she saw the pharmacist getting inappropriately close to Person 9, saying she backed away from him into a corner until the worktop prevented her from backing away further.
Person 9 said that the pharmacist would also try to get her to sit on his knee and patted her leg, pulled her hair on several occasions, and on one occasion took a pen from her hair and put it into the breast area of her tunic top, between the buttons.
The GPhC found these allegations proven and decided to allow the pharmacist to continue to practise, but with conditions on his registration.
The fitness hearing saw the pharmacist’s counsel assert that he had done everything asked of him by the Council, and suggest there was no real risk of repetition.
The pharmacist had taken on a strategy of avoiding all social conversation – which his counsel admitted might not work for everyone, but this did not mean it would not work for him.
The GPhC took into account the fact that the pharmacist’s conduct since the 2019 hearing had been good, and that “it was clear he had learnt a lot about professional behaviour and the boundaries inherent in any profession but especially this one”.
It decided that he was fit to practise the profession.