In a statement made in a tweet this morning, Matt Hancock MP has confirmed that community pharmacists in England will be included in the death in service benefit.
It is so far unclear as to whether pharmacy teams will be included in the scheme in England.
The scheme recognises the increased risk faced by staff during the crisis and will cover coronavirus related deaths of workers in frontline health and adult and children’s social care roles during the outbreak. It will cover staff who provide hands-on personal care for people who have contracted coronavirus or work in health or care settings where the virus is present.
Bereaved family members will receive a £60,000 lump sum worth roughly twice the average pensionable pay for NHS staff, with the cost met by the government.
This morning Matt Hancock confirmed in a tweet that community pharmacists in England would be covered. He said:
“I’m glad to be able to confirm that community pharmacists are included in our death in service benefits. Because they are employed in a different way, it is arranged in a different way, but pharmacists are a vital part of our NHS family. They are of course covered.”
Responding to the announcement, RPS President Sandra Gidley said:
“We would like to thank the government for listening to concerns raised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the profession about including pharmacists in the death in service benefit scheme. We look forward to receiving similar assurances from the Scottish Government and have already received them from the Welsh Government.
“We very much hope this offer extends to pharmacy teams, as well as all pharmacists who support the public on the frontline. We will be seeking clarification about this with government officials, along with other detail about how the scheme will work in practice. As the professional body, the RPS wants to be involved in any further conversation taking place on this. We will be it raising with the Pharmacy Minister Jo Churchill at our regular weekly meeting with her.
Chair of the RPS in England Professor Claire Anderson said: “Pharmacists are risking their lives every day through face-to-face contact with the public. We must make sure our frontline teams are fully protected with PPE and considered part of the NHS family. We should never have had to have this battle, which has demoralised many in our profession. In future, we expect the nation’s third largest health profession to be included in key government announcements on policy affecting our NHS colleagues.”