Responding to the letter sent by NHS England/Improvement on measures to further support primary care workers such as pharmacists, Chair of the RPS in England Professor Claire Anderson said:
“This response from NHS England/Improvement on the next steps on Covid-19 is very encouraging. Some of the essential asks we called for yesterday, such as providing an NHS funded delivery service for people self-isolating at home, and additional resourcing for the pharmacy network, have already been agreed, which is excellent news for pharmacists on the frontline.
“Protecting staff is also a priority, which will mean getting Personal Protective Equipment to those who need it. Pharmacy teams are often the first place the public go to and everybody in the health service should feel safe to continue looking after patients. Frontline staff must be protected and testing them for the virus should be a priority.
“As more people are discharged from hospitals back into communities there will be an increased impact on primary care services, which are already under pressure. Pharmacists in both secondary and primary care settings will be key to supporting medicines safety around the transfer of care. I welcome proposals for enhanced health and wellbeing support and this must be extended to all pharmacists supporting the health service at this crucial time.
“It will come as a relief to many that there will be a more flexible approach to contract requirements, and payments to contractors who are required to close due to Covid-19 related reasons. It’s vital that income is protected when contract work has to re-focus on Covid-19 to care for patients. This kind of financial lifeline is important to preserve the future functioning of the community pharmacy network. We look forward to seeing further detail on this as how and when it’s implemented will be vital.
“Our pharmacy teams are working flat out to support the public and the NHS. We want to ensure the NHS continues to support the vital role pharmacy teams have in caring for their local communities.
"The RPS is in regular contact with the NHS and Government and we will be asking for further details on the implications of these policy announcements and how the profession will get the support it needs.”
For more information, take a look at our policy asks.
Read the NHS England/Improvement Letter.