UK pharmacists warned on social media abuse


"Share" button on keyboard: pharmacists warned to be careful

UK pharmacy organisations have cautioned their members to be careful on social media following outrage over an Edinburgh pharmacist’s Facebook attack on a customer, Chemist + Druggist reports.

Pharmacist Charles Shanks responded to a Facebook complaint about the Calder Pharmacy by calling the customer a “total retard”.

The customer attempted to buy pain relief medication for her father, a cancer sufferer, but was told the pharmacy had run out of it. She complained.

The Edinburgh News ran Shanks’ comment in full.

“So tonight some [expletive] commented on Facebook how us at Calder Pharmacy were not doing our jobs properly or being professional,” he wrote. “Good to see you went total retard tonight.”

UK pharmacy publication Chemist + Druggist spoke to National Pharmacy Association head of pharmacy services Leyla Hannbeck, who said that whatever frustrations Shanks might be experiencing, his comments were “clearly utterly unacceptable”.

She said pharmacists should put together social media policies that “spelled out risks, appropriate behaviour and consequences” in the event they are broken.

NPA had previously recommended that pharmacists not use Facebook and other social media to engage with their patients, following a similar warning to doctors by the British Medical Association.

The UK’s General Pharmaceutical Council and Calder Pharmacy’s local health board, NHS Lothian, have said they are looking into the incident.

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