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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update 2

The PDA is engaging with employers, regulators, government and other pharmacy bodies on a daily basis to represent pharmacists' interests and have issued an update on the action it is taking to support pharmacists during the COVID19 crisis period.

Wed 18th March 2020 The PDA

There is much information relating to pharmacy practice during this period and it could even be out of date by the time you see it. We advise members to ensure they keep up to date with the current guidance in their jurisdiction such as specific guidance for employers, educational and health-related organisations as this may vary across the UK.

Public Health England

Public Health Wales

Health Protection Scotland

Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland

The PDA is engaging with employers, regulators, government and other pharmacy bodies on a daily basis to represent pharmacists’ interests and all stakeholders need to be mindful that pharmacists may end up acting outside their normal practice. Over the coming weeks and months, every pharmacist will have an important contribution to make and possibly become engaged in activities that they have not previously experienced. It is inevitable that as the virus takes its toll, pharmacists will be working in increasingly sub-optimal situations, with dwindling resources while being aware that they are likely to fall ill at some stage themselves. PDA members work in a range of roles and settings and for many different employers, however, the virus is a common enemy and we must, therefore, all focus on this public health crisis, unite the profession and fight this virus together.

In our discussions, we are arguing that the lessons from Italy, (where only food shops, hospitals, key services and pharmacies are still open) indicate that pharmacists are a critical resource that must be protected as they will have an increasingly vital front-line role to play. A stage could be reached where pharmacists are physically and mentally exhausted. Therefore, one of our key messages is to advocate for the protection of pharmacists’ wellbeing. Additional stresses and demands that would otherwise be placed upon them must be managed in some other way or be removed altogether.

These are unprecedented times and regardless of the crisis, your employer continues to be responsible for your health and safety at work and must not expose you to unacceptable or unnecessary risk.  Already the volume of activity in many pharmacies has increased by 30% in just one week and this is why we are asking the government to help with funding extra pharmacists and to ensure that non-essential services that generate unnecessary workload and/or risk for pharmacists are stopped.

We will stand up for, and support, those who feel they are being unfairly treated. For example, the population of pharmacists includes individuals who themselves are at higher risk from the virus and need special consideration.  Others may need time to care for children or other family members without financial loss.  We believe that the government support recently announced should be used for this purpose.

These are just some of the scenarios where the PDA will be supporting members and standing up for pharmacists in the coming weeks and months. We are acutely aware that the great majority of our members will very soon find themselves at the epicentre of this crisis and we assure you that we will be doing our utmost to provide you with the support you need while you care for patients. To achieve these ends, we will work collaboratively with other pharmacy organisations and we are also reconfiguring our own services to ensure we can continue to champion the interests and needs of pharmacists in this evolving situation.

We are awaiting a response to our current requests, however, we will send these to members by the end of this week irrespective.

Finally, the PDA is itself an employer and we are managing and supporting our own employees so that we not only help delay the spread of the virus but also to ensure that our staff continue to be available to provide members with a service and to support your many needs.

We want to keep you aware of matters important to your practice and employment and will send further updates on our discussions and any agreements that have been reached with the government and others.  Please make sure you read our messages.  You can also get updates from our website and by following our social media.

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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