By Neil Trainis
The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) have urged Matt Hancock to hold talks with trade unions and pharmacy employers to ensure the safety of pharmacy teams amid fears the Government’s relaxation of lockdown measures has left them increasingly exposed to coronavirus.
In a letter sent to the health secretary (pictured) today, the PDA and Usdaw say increasingly acute shortages of PPE, coupled with people leaving their homes more frequently as lockdown restrictions ease, could increase pharmacy workers' chances of contracting the virus from their patients.
In the letter to Mr Hancock, PDA chairman Mark Koziol said “the question of how the safety of staff working in community pharmacies can be maintained” needed to be considered “in much more detail.”
“As you have publicly recognised, community pharmacies have found themselves in the very front line of the war on the coronavirus in the community,” he wrote.
“Community pharmacists and their teams have worked under increasingly difficult conditions facing ever larger numbers of members of the public many of whom are angry and frustrated and some of them are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.”
When asked which pharmacy employers the PDA would like to see take part in the talks, the organisation's director Paul Day told Independent Community Pharmacist that the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), Association of Independent Multiples (AIM) and National Pharmacy Association (NPA) could participate.
“We would expect them to be the voice of employers but it is for the employers to decide how they are best represented in discussions about workplace health and safety,” Mr Day said.