PDA agrees a web portal with the NHS in England to help ensure that locums do not miss out on their prioritised Covid-19 vaccination

PDA will ensure that self -employed locums can enjoy the same access to Covid-19 vaccination priority as do their employed colleagues.

Mon 18th January 2021 The PDA

According to the JCVI, the next tier of individuals to be vaccinated are frontline healthcare workers, and pharmacists clearly fall within that definition. The approach that will be taken will be slightly different in the four UK countries and the PDA will share the final details and practicalities with members once these have been established.

In England, a letter from Senior NHS officials has described a priority vaccination process which will be led by employers and which will require them to send lists of all of their employees to the local CCGs so that they can organise the appointments.

However, following advice from the PDA, the NHS has recognised that self-employed locum pharmacists form a large and important part of the workforce. Many work in several different pharmacies and even in different CCG catchments; some may work in more than 30 pharmacies in a year, often in locations distant from one another. This means that there could be a lot of duplication as employers will not know which other employers have identified their locum nor in which CCG. Other locums may not be able to find an employer to include them in the prioritised vaccination programme as they may work only very briefly in a large number of community pharmacies.

The PDA has told the NHS that a mechanism is needed enabling locums to take charge of their own vaccination booking process after identifying which CCG would be most appropriate for them. Following these discussions, the NHS has agreed that the PDA may operate a web portal that the PDA is creating specifically for this purpose. This will allow locums to select the CCG most proximate to their current geographical location. Once the list has been gathered from the whole of England, the details will be transferred directly to the respective CCG operational centres and they can arrange the vaccination appointments with locums directly.

A senior NHS England official has written to the PDA to confirm;

Locum staff, as you rightly say, make up a significant proportion of the community pharmacy workforce and are valued members of our profession. They clearly meet the definition of frontline healthcare workers put forward by the JCVI for priority vaccinations and as such it is important that we do all we can to facilitate this. We think this is a very helpful suggestion and would be keen that the initiative you describe is progressed as soon as possible.”

The locum vaccination portal is available here. The PDA is making this facility available to all locums at no cost, whether they are members or not, as part of the defence association’s contribution to the NHS efforts in this pandemic.

The PDA’s work in this area is still ongoing and details of the NHS arrangements for pharmacist vaccination programmes for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be shared in the coming days.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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