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Locum and employed pharmacists should check arrangements for them to receive up to £500 government payment in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Employers, in Northern Ireland and in Scotland, have been asked by their respective governments to provide information about how many eligible pharmacists, including locums, will receive up to £500 as a payment from government for their contribution in 2020 towards tackling the Covid pandemic.

Tue 23rd February 2021 The PDA

The PDA welcomes payments being made by the government in Scotland and Northern Ireland to pharmacists in recognition of their frontline role during the Covid-19 pandemic.  While information submitted regarding the number of eligible employees should be unambiguous, there is a risk that information about eligible locums, particularly if they work across several different pharmacies could potentially be duplicated or missed by employers. 

The PDA is encouraging locums to ensure they have the necessary conversations with those with whom they have worked during the pandemic period to ensure they know how they will be included in the payment scheme.

As payments are being made pro-rata for those employed pharmacists who do not work full-time, part-time pharmacists will want to know that they will be allocated the correct proportion of the full-time payment based on their hours and may also want to check with their employer.

Each government needs to understand how many individuals will be entitled to a payment at each employer before the payments can be distributed.  Employers will first need to confirm the number of eligible employees and locums who have worked with them during the pandemic period.

The amount to be distributed by an employer will depend on the details they provide, and the distribution may also depend on employer payment systems.  The PDA raised concerns last week after it became aware that Morrisons in Scotland had told eligible pharmacists that they intended to block them from receiving the payment.  While that issue is now resolved, it has highlighted that locum and employed pharmacists in community pharmacy are reliant on employers to make the right claim and distribute the eligible amount to each individual.

Northern Ireland

This letter, dated 15 February, was sent to the manager in charge of payroll/Human Resources at each community pharmacy employer and asks them to confirm via an online survey the number of employees and locums eligible for the payment as a first step.  The survey was expected to be completed by 19 February.

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In Scotland, this letter dated 8 February, asks for employers to complete an online portal by 21 February to confirm the number of workers that will be eligible for the payment.

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The PDA encourage eligible pharmacists to confirm with their employer now if they have been included in the scheme.  If they work less than full time or if they are locums, they may also want to confirm whether the expected payment will be less than the standard £500.  It is better to confirm the details now, while there is more time to resolve any issues, than to try and resolve any  issues after the payments have been made.


The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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