The Pharmacists` Defence Association (PDA) has urged pharmacy employers to encourage their staff to keep their mobile phones with them at work so they can support the government`s coronavirus track and trace programme and prepare mitigation measures to avoid potentially devastating effects on pharmacies.
Track and trace will be implemented across the UK and central to that is a contract-tracing app recently trialled on the Isle of Wight. The app will let people know if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the disease.
The PDA said pharmacy must give track and trace its “full support” although there have been concerns that if one member of the pharmacy team is found to have Covid-19, others may have to self-isolate, severely reducing the pharmacy's workforce.
The PDA set out four mitigation measures pharmacies could take including dividing their team into two or more shifts so individuals do not work at the same time, familiarising locums with the pharmacy in case staff need to self-isolate and discussing how staff from different pharmacy businesses in the same area could run a service from one locality.
The PDA also said pharmacies should consider how staff members who are not sick but are isolating may be able to work from home “in a way that still helps the public but in a way that maintains the self-isolation, keeps patient data protected and which is compliant with regulations.”
The PDA urged pharmacy employers to safeguard workers' pay and not treat them unfairly if they are off work because they are recovering from the virus or self-isolating.
“Employers are therefore encouraged in the interest of fair treatment to discount any such absence from absence management processes and to safeguard individuals’ pay,” the PDA said.