The UK government have reversed their decision to exclude community pharmacists from the coronavirus compensation scheme in England.
The PDA has welcomed the u-turn by the Secretary of State Matt Hancock and praised pharmacists for their professional unity.
The Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced a change to the scope of the coronavirus compensation scheme with an early morning tweet on Thursday 30 April.
An outraged profession had reacted with anger at the original decision not to include community pharmacists within the scope of the scheme.
The PDA told PIP that as soon as the scheme was first announced they wrote to Mr Hancock requesting that he confirm community pharmacists would be included in scope and making it clear that the profession would consider it “perverse and wrong” if they were not, However, Department of Health officials responded to requests for clarity on the scheme details by saying the decision had been made to exclude those practising in community pharmacy.
Paul Day, PDA Director said:
“We firstly want to commend our members in hospitals and GP practices who contacted us yesterday to ask what they could do to ensure the government changed their policy to include colleagues in community pharmacy. We believe in professional unity, standing up for each other is in our DNA, that’s partly why we are so proud to be called the ‘union’ . It was that unity, with pharmacists across the country expressing their concern, that forced the government to change their position.”
“We were never going to let that original decision stand and reflecting the mood of our members we were actively exploring a range of further actions, with nothing ruled out. This morning we praised the Wales Government for confirming that their scheme would include community pharmacists and encouraged England to match the decision. Less than an hour later we were in a meeting discussing our plans for further action today when Mr Hancock made his tweet”.
The PDA thanked Mr Hancock for doing the right thing.
The PDA has said that they are now expecting Northern Ireland and Scotland to also respect those in the community pharmacy sector and confirm community pharmacists will be covered by their schemes.