Underwriters have agreed to extend cover to support pharmacists involved in Covid-19 activities that are beyond the normal scope of their work (Photo: iStock)

Indemnity cover will be extended to include such activities pharmacists have to take up in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has clarified.

“Where pharmacists are putting the interests of patients first having undertaken a professional decision-making process, underwriters have agreed to extend cover to support pharmacists involved in activities that are beyond the normal scope of their work or when they work beyond the law or the professional regulations,” the PDA said in a statement.

This would allows pharmacists to continue to rely on the association’s professional indemnity scheme for compensation-related issues as well as its full support and representation in the event of any inquests, threatened sanctions or employer disciplinary matter, it added.

The clarification came in the wake of concerns raised by pharmacists on possible activities required of them in Covid-19 response, such as calling patients at their homes as part of a CCG organised initiative, to notify them that they have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and providing the necessary counselling.

The Coronavirus Bill, which is expected to become law this week, provides for professional indemnity to support any necessary compensation payments for patients specifically for any errors that occur in those situations related to the treatment or diagnosis of COVID-19 through NHS Resolution.

Though the government scheme would not provide indemnity support for pharmacists engaged in any non-COVID related activity, the PDA said a combination of its membership and the government safety net should give pharmacists with all the reassurance that they need.

“In a practical sense, this means that rather than spend energy on trying to work out whether a specific activity is covered or not, pharmacists are urged to apply more generically the points above and concentrate all of their valuable efforts on helping out with the pandemic,” the association added.

Earlier, the General Pharmaceutical Council has offered support for pharmacists in situations where they have to prioritise patient needs over rules in Covid-19 response.

“We recognise that in highly challenging circumstances, pharmacy professionals and teams may need to depart from established procedures in order to care for patients and people using health and social care services. Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations,” Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of theregulator, has said.

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