RPS is pleased to see that NHS England has written to hospital trusts, clinical commissioning groups, general practices and community pharmacists asking all employers to carry out risk assessments for at-risk staff within the next two weeks. We now expect employers to follow through and take the necessary steps to protect their workforce from COVID-19.
The letter was issued following publication of the RPS/UKBPA survey, which found that over two thirds of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) pharmacists had not had workplace risk assessments for coronavirus. We would like to see an immediate response from employers to reassure their staff that they are putting their safety first.
RPS has been calling for individual risk assessments to be mandatory for BAME staff. We have also written to governments asking for better support for BAME pharmacists across GB and raised the issue with the BBC and on our social media platforms.
Ravi Sharma, RPS Director for England, said: "We are pleased to see NHS England taking swift action following the findings of our survey. Risk assessments are essential to ensure that pharmacists and their teams are safe and protected at work. Employers have a duty of care to their employees and we hope to see them act responsibly and take action in response to this letter as a matter of urgency.
"We know the risks of serious complications from COVID-19 - including death - are higher for those from the BAME community. Now is the time for action from employers to build confidence across the profession that this issue is being tackled."
Read the NHS England letter.