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The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has welcomed a recent High Court judgment which has extended its support to the locum pharmacists by strengthening their health and safety rights during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The court passed its judgment in response to a petition from the Independent Worker Union of Great Britain (IWGB) which stated that the employment and health and safety law did not adequately protect workers, including locum pharmacists, as they did not receive protection from the concerned during the current pandemic.

The court ruled that the UK had failed properly to implement the EU Health and Safety Framework Directive by confining protection from detriment on health and safety grounds.

In the initial stage of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IWGB received around 144 queries regarding Covid-19 issues, including lack of PPE, failure to implement social distancing and failure to package Covid-19 samples correctly in order to protect medical couriers and they felt vulnerable without these personal protection equipment (PPE).

“Under the EC Directive, the UK should have transposed measures into domestic law to encourage improvements in the health and safety of workers at work and minimum health and safety requirements for the use by workers of PPE in the workplace,” the PDA has said in a release in response to the court judgment.

The IWGB’s argument was that workers should have such protection but the UK domestic legislation, mainly within the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Employment Rights Act 1996, only gave this protection to staff.

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