PSNC has clarified that pharmacists and pharmacy staff include in the ‘key worker’ list announced by the government yesterday (19 March).
The ‘key worker’ status will support pharmacies in light of school closures from today. The schools will be closed until further notice for all except children of key workers – those who are critical to the COVID-19 response – and vulnerable children.
The guidance issued by government does not specifically mention pharmacists, but this has done deliberately to include all the people involved in the medicines and pharmacy supply chains and the delivery of pharmacy services, PSNC said in a statement.
“The Government needed to ensure that all those important workers – pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy dispensers, pharmacy drivers, staff in wholesalers, distributers, etc. – were included and therefore settled on a wider definition than some may have been expecting,” Simon Dukes, PSNC chief executive, said.
Trade union Usdaw has also confirmed that pharmaceutical supply workers are included in the list.
“Today’s publication of the key worker list is welcome, allowing the identified workers full access to any skeleton childcare provisions which are put in place. It is vital that these workers are able to continue delivering crucial services without suffering any financial detriment,” Paddy Lillis, Usdaw general secretary, said.
Thanks @NHSEngland for agreeing to our request to include #pharmacists in the communications about key workers by the end of today. Our profession is very definitely frontline. pic.twitter.com/Z6yNAekmRO
— Royal Pharmaceutical Society (@rpharms) March 20, 2020
Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said NHS England has agreed to include pharmacists in the ‘key worker’ list today.
RPS president Sandra Gidley, in the meantime, has written an open letter to headteachers on the role of pharmacists and pharmacy staff as ‘key workers’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[This] includes children of parents who work in health and social care, which covers pharmacists and their support teams, as well as those working in the health and social care supply chain, such as producers and distributers of medicines,” Gidley said in the letter.
“Pharmacists and support staff are critical to the COVID-19 response and key workers in the health service.”