Pharmacy employers 'must learn lessons of first wave'

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s director of pharmacy Robbie Turner has warned pharmacy employers must learn the lessons of the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure their staff are risk-assessed for the disease.

Despite the government’s latest attempt to control the virus, with 10pm curfews for pubs, bars and restaurants starting tomorrow, there are concerns the rate of infection will continue to climb.

Community pharmacists and their teams across the UK have had to contend with rising workload and possible infection risk as patients present at pharmacies for medicines and advice.

Mr Turner said it was “more important than ever that pharmacists and their teams are kept safe as infections continue to rise.”

“The risks to the country’s health from increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases has put unprecedented demand on pharmacists across all healthcare settings,” he said.

“It is essential that pharmacists and their teams are properly risk-assessed so those at high risk of Covid-19 transmission can be protected within the workplace.

“We’ve been calling for action on this on behalf of our members throughout the crisis and we expect all employers to undertake appropriate risk assessments for pharmacy staff across primary and secondary care. Lessons must be learnt from the first phase of the pandemic.”

Nearly a quarter of black and minority ethnic pharmacists were still waiting for their employer to give them a Covid-19 risk assessment by the second week of August, a survey by the UK Black Pharmacists Association and the RPS revealed.

“Pharmacy teams must also be protected with adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment, quick access to testing and other safety measures, as well as support for their own mental health and wellbeing in dealing with this difficult period,” Mr Turner said.

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