The PDA launches web portal with the NHS in England which helps to ensure that locums do not miss out on their own 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.

Fri 29th January 2021 The PDA

According to the JCVI, the next tier of individuals to receive Covid-19 vaccinations are frontline health and social 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 own 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 work in more than 30 pharmacies in a year, often in far distant locations. Whilst many employers will be able to add their regular locums to the lists of staff they are compiling, others will not know which other employers have identified their locum nor in which CCG. Some locums may not be able to find an employer to include them in the prioritised Covid-19 vaccination programme as they may work only very briefly in a large number of community pharmacies. For all of these reasons, there is a danger that some locums may be missed out of the programme.

In recognition of this, 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 best suit their location. Following these discussions, the NHS has agreed that the PDA may operate an electronic web portal that the PDA has designed specifically for this purpose. This will allow locums to select the CCG most proximate to their current geographical location. This arrangement has been described in the NHS Primary Care Bulletin of 28th January 2021

The list gathered via the PDA’s locum vaccination portal from the whole of England by the PDA will then be transferred to the respective CCG vaccination operational centres. Once they have finalised their vaccination plans, they would then arrange the vaccination appointments with locums directly using the details provided via the PDAs portal.

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 PDA is making this facility available to all locums at no cost, whether they are members or not as part of its contribution to the NHS efforts in this pandemic. The PDA’s work in this area is ongoing and it will publish any details of the arrangements for pharmacist vaccination programmes for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland once these become clear.

We encourage locums to register with the PDA’s vaccination portal as soon as possible and we urge locums to also pass the details of this arrangement onto their locum colleagues and their respective locum agencies for circulation.

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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