"When the call to risk assess high risk groups went out, we went a step further and put in place a risk assessment process for every one of our 6,700 colleagues, no matter where they worked in the business"

Well Pharmacy says ‘almost all’ of its members of staff, including those from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds, have now completed their Covid-19 risk assessment.

The pharmacy multiple engaged with Professor Dr Mahendra Patel – a senior academic pharmacist who specialises in health inequalities associated with BAME groups – to help identify any particular risk areas for all of its 6,700 employees.

“While the infection rate stats were clearly indicating a specific concern among the BAME community and other higher risk groups, we decided from the start that the action we would take was going to be for every colleague, including those on furlough, as we all faced the challenges Covid presented us with together,” Jacqueline Lunardi, people director at Well said in a statement today (September 9).

“We also set up an ongoing process so anyone returning to work after a period of time off – for example, from maternity or long-term sick – and those whose health situation changes, completes an assessment too.”

Previous to conducting the risk assessment, the company said it had already taken a lot of action to make sure its employees stayed safe and secure such as by proving adequate personal protective equipment, installing protective screens across all its pharmacies, increasing cleaning and sanitising activities, and keeping everyone informed of the changing advice and guidance through regular communication.

“When the call to risk assess high risk groups went out, we went a step further and put in place a risk assessment process for every one of our 6,700 colleagues, no matter where they worked in the business.”

Speaking of the pharmacy multiple’s risk assessment process, Professor Patel said: “It’s reassuring to see that Well are being extra vigilant at wanting to help address the issues around BAME communities being disproportionately affected by Covid, and it’s great to see meaningful action being taken.

“Equally, it’s a real positive step that Well have taken to apply this risk assessment across all their employees to make sure they don’t exclude anyone at risk. I’m even more delighted to see that this isn’t just a one-off exercise and that Well continue to understand their employees’ needs to keep everyone protected. It’s been a pleasure to share my insight and experience to help them with this work.”

In June, Well sent a risk assessment questionnaire to every colleague whilst creating “a robust evaluation matrix” to assess the risk to individuals based on their responses, enabling the company to focus on those with the highest risks first.

“Our number one priority is the safety and security of our teams,” continues Jacqueline. “and I believe we’ve taken prompt and comprehensive action to ensure this.”

Well said more than 95 per cent of its employees have now completed their assessments as the company continues to assess those who are returning to work. It has also put a process in place to re-assess anyone whose situation changes.

Janice Perkins, pharmacy superintendent at Well, added: “Having this comprehensive risk assessment process has given a lot of reassurance to our teams. Continuing to serve patients and customers on the frontline in a healthcare setting throughout the pandemic was concerning to some colleagues.

“Knowing that we were not only providing PPE to manage this, but also risk assessing each individual’s situation fully, meant that our teams knew we were going that step further for their own safety.”

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