Risk assessments are crucial to reducing COVID-19 in the workplace

PDA urge employers and pharmacists to ensure that risks assessments are carried out in every workplace, for every pharmacist in every pharmacy setting. This comes after the PDA launched a Risk Assessment Toolkit to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in community pharmacies.

Wed 8th July 2020 The PDA

This evening, Dr Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England and Ed Waller, Director Primary Care Strategy and NHS Contracts Group, NHS England and NHS Improvement, will lead a risk assessment webinar to encourage all parts of the NHS, including primary care and community pharmacy, to ensure that risk assessments are completed in all pharmacies.

Across the country, PDA members alongside other NHS staff in CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) are having risk assessments as plans are being agreed for working arrangements for the rest of the pandemic and the period that follows.

“Risk Assessments are vital to keep all workers safe during the pandemic and should be happening for all pharmacists and pharmacy teams in all pharmacies across the UK in every sector,” says Richard Hutton, PDA Union Regional Offical for the North and Regional Committee Coordinator.

Richard represents PDA members in discussions with the several of the larger CCGs in the north region. He also supports and represents members with problems at work including during disciplinaries and grievances.

Led by the guidance provided by the NHS, CCG’s across England are looking to reduce the risks of COVID-19 in all areas and for all staff. The risk assessments for CCG’s are governed by national guidance provided by NHS employers. Risk assessments are taking place in other parts of the NHS too for example, pharmacists who work in medicines optimisation teams, some of whom are currently working from home.

The assessments are deemed to fall into three categories: –

  1. WORKPLACE – including risk assessments for each individual room in the building and for each person within that room. Desks are removed to provide social distancing and relevant IT adjustments are made. If over 50 people are employed, then the risk assessments must be published.
  2. HOME WORKERS – individual risk assessments to determine if workers have the correct IT equipment and a comfortable working space (for office staff). One example is a CCG that has provided home workers with a one off payment to purchase home office equipment.
  3. CONTINUING HEALTHCARE PROVISION – processes are put in place for staff visiting surgeries, domiciliary visits and other services.

Some of the risk assessment processes depend on CCG landlord participation. For example, to facilitate deep cleans regularly, remove “touch points” such as kettles and deep clean other “touch points” such as light switches and door handles also to introduce one way systems.

Most CCG landlords are compliant, although concerns have been raised by some members about individual NHS properties. Vulnerable groups are a prime concern for employers. Several CCG’s have developed a template for conversations with individual staff to identify those vulnerable staff who require additional consideration. According to NHS employers, Wolverhampton CCG has an exemplary model.

If you are not yet a PDA member and you work as a pharmacist in a CCG, you can join here. If you are interested in becoming a PDA rep, or if you are a PDA member who has concerns over risk assessment, working arrangements during the pandemic or any other workplace issue, please get in touch using the form below.

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
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and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

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