COVID-19 policy wins

You said, we did, they responded

You've been in touch about the issues affecting you during the COVID-19 pandemic. We've put our contacts, reputation and knowledge to work, calling on governments, the media and other organisations to help.


You Said

Why can’t pharmacists working on the frontline access tests for coronavirus?

We Did

To make sure the need for testing for pharmacists was recognised we contacted government and key stakeholders.

They Responded

Pharmacists and their teams now have access to testing if they, or members of their household, are showing signs and symptoms of coronavirus.

You Said 2

What if my visa runs out before I take my Pre-Reg exam?

We Did 2

Together with the GPhC, we’ve lobbied government on your behalf.

They Responded 2

Visas have now been extended to take into account these extenuating circumstances.

You Said 3

Why aren’t pharmacists mentioned in the media alongside doctors and nurses?

We Did 3

To get recognition of your role across the NHS we’ve been speaking to politicians and the media throughout this crisis.

They Responded 3

Pharmacists and their teams are now mentioned in thank you messages to NHS staff, in the media and in political briefings. RPS spokespeople have taken every opportunity to highlight the work of pharmacy teams across all areas of practice and countries.

You Said 4

How do I get into supermarkets during priority shopping times?

How do I access school childcare support?

How do I move between my home and place of work during the pandemic?

We Did 4

We’ve been in touch with all the large supermarkets, making sure you and your staff are on their priority lists.

And we’ve added letters on our website for you to print out, confirming your key worker status.

We wrote to all three Governments highlighting your crucial role in the COVID-19 response, and asking for clarification on their help for pharmacy teams.

They Responded 4

Key worker status for pharmacists has been confirmed by Governments (ID cards are now issued by some health authorities).

RPS key workers letters being accepted to access key priority workers benefits.

Inclusion of community pharmacy to death in service scheme in all three countries. Details still to be announced.

You Said 5

What’s being done about members of the public behaving aggressively in queues and abusing staff?

We Did 5

We’ve been in touch with police forces across GB and they’re now keeping a close eye on this problem; you’re strongly encouraged to report any such behaviour to them.

They Responded 5

Police forces have increased local neighbourhood surveillance and presence around community pharmacies and will respond quickly to any incident reported.
Police have provided guidance to pharmacies to support them during COVID-19.

You Said 6

What about people needing quick access to Controlled Drugs who can’t get them?

We Did 6

We’ve been meeting with ministers and speaking to governments about these, pushing for greater autonomy for you to manage medicines supply chains, as well as support substance misuse services and End of Life (EoL) services.

They Responded 6

Controlled Drug regulations have been changed and can be acted upon during the pandemic period to enable greater flexibility when needed.

You Said 7

It’s a difficult time for pharmacists: we’re dealing with increased patient mortality; redeployment to critical care and other new areas; our mental health and wellbeing are suffering.
What help is there for pharmacists affected by these and other stresses?

We Did 7

In talks with all three GB governments, we’ve raised the importance of mental health support and for help maintaining staffing levels with, and expressing the need for longer term support for the pharmacy workforce post-COVID.

They Responded 7

Pharmacists have now been included in NHS schemes for mental health and wellbeing support for healthcare workers in England and Wales. 

We’re continuing to raise this issue with Scottish Government.

You Said 8

The public still aren't wearing face masks in community pharmacies, even though face-coverings are compulsory in hospitals in England.

We Did 8

We called on Government and NHSE to extend this across primary care and other healthcare settings.

They Responded 8

DHSC confirmed this for all primary care settings, and our new posters help teams communicate this.

You Said 9

The trace, track and protect programme is going to disrupt staffing and close community pharmacies.

We Did 9

We sought government clarification and advised you to wear PPE if you cannot maintain social distance from the public or colleagues.

They Responded 9

If you follow RPS guidance you will likely not be considered a contact.

You Said 10

Pre-Registration pharmacists need more support at this difficult time.

We Did 10

Working with members and stakeholders, we identified and developed support for Pre-Reg pharmacists, including...

They Responded 10

..Webinars with the BPSA and the GPhC; a dedicated web hub with vital resources; a team of experienced pharmacists to support all our members; a new e-portfolio to guide learning and record support, and extended RPS membership until after this year’s assessment results.

You Said 11

Pharmacists moving to work in care homes need the proper training and skills.

We Did 11

We wrote new training resources specifically to support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians deployed to care homes during COVID-19.

They Responded 11

We collaborated with NHS England, CPPE, APTUK, PCPA, RCGP and SPS to develop this practical guide and made it available to all.

You Said 12

Are pharmacy teams affected by the recent news about exempting migrant health and care workers from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge?

We Did 12

We went direct to the Department of Health and Social Care to find out.

They Responded 12

The department confirmed that migrant pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and Pre-Peg trainees are all exempt from the surcharge.

You Said 13

All pharmacists moving to work in critical care during the pandemic need the proper skills and training.

We Did 13

We wrote new training resources specifically to support pharmacists deployed to critical care during COVID-19.

They Responded 13

We collaborated with experts, including the UKCPA Critical Care Group, to write this practical guide.

You Said 14

We don't have enough professional autonomy to support people with medication shortages.

We Did 14

We called for legislation to be amended, so community pharmacists in England and Wales can change prescriptions and minimise delays to patients.

They Responded 14

This was just one of many recommendations made on your behalf to health committee enquiries in England and Wales.

You Said 15

Are locum pharmacists covered by the new death in service benefit for frontline NHS key workers during COVID-19?

We Did 15

We contacted the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to confirm that the scheme would extend to locum pharmacists.

They Responded 15

Governments in Wales, Scotland and England confirmed that locums definitely are covered by the death in service benefit.

You Said 16

What's being done about the impact of COVID-19 on BAME staff?

We Did 16

In concert with other organisations we raised these concerns with government, sparking a review. We also called for mandatory individual risk assessments for pharmacists and their teams.

They Responded 16

In partnership with the Black Pharmacists Association (UKBPA) we launched a survey to find out whic organisations have implemented risk assessments.
We'll use the results to push for further action.

You Said 17

I'm concerned about the difficult ethical decisions I have to make during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We Did 17

We set up a dedicated group that would help pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians make those difficult decisions.

They Responded 17

We published an ethical framework for pharmacists.