Locums in Scotland furious as NHS cancel their vaccination shifts

PDA locum members in Scotland are furious after receiving NHS communications saying that the NHS is cancelling their scheduled shifts in the Covid vaccination programme and amending payment arrangements without any prior discussion

Wed 10th March 2021 The PDA

PDA locum members in Scotland are furious after receiving NHS communications saying that the NHS is cancelling their scheduled shifts in the Covid vaccination programme and amending payment arrangements without any prior discussion

The communication received by locums says that “The sessional rate must only be offered to pharmacy contractors”, which has meant that whilst locums will be paid for work done to date, any future booked sessions will be cancelled, directly impacting their income.

The messages received claims that “various stakeholders” will be involved in discussion as to what happens next, the PDA has already written to explain that as the largest exclusively pharmacist trade union and representative body for pharmacists and one with more than 10,000 locums in membership, the PDA expects to be involved in these discussions.

A copy of the message provided by one of our locum members is as follows:

We are writing to you today to provide you with an update regarding the mechanism in which you will be paid for your support with the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde COVID-Vaccination programme.

The Scottish Government have recently published revised guidance clarifying how community pharmacists should be reimbursed.  Within their guidance, the Scottish Government have outlined the following: 

Given the need to maintain the full range of current pharmaceutical care services such as the dispensing of medicines or the provision of healthcare advice or treatment, it is important that these services have continued access to a skilled workforce, including through deployment of, for example, locum pharmacists. 

In adhering to this direction, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be required to change the reimbursement process for our GPhC-registered Community Pharmacists.

The sessional rate (£231/3.5 hours) must only be offered to pharmacy contractors, the entity noted on the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Pharmaceutical List.  The pharmacy contractors are uniquely placed to balance participation in the vaccination programme with ensuring patients have continued access to the essential pharmaceutical care services and their own business needs.

As I am sure you will be aware, this is quite a different arrangement than what is currently in operation and will require further discussion with various stakeholders. Therefore, it is with regret, that we will have to temporarily pause your input into the COVID-Vaccination programme whilst the pay mechanism is rearranged.

We understand this may be highly disappointing and inconvenient for you.  Therefore, we would like to apologise for this temporary disruption. 

Our Community Pharmacists have proven their unique skillset have added value to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s COVID-vaccination programme, and we would like to re-engage with you as soon as possible. 

However, we are also aware this change in payment mechanism will no longer be suitable to meet your individual needs.  Therefore, we would like you to outline your intentions using this short form.  The information you provide in this form will allow us to ensure you can recommence working within the Vaccination Programme as quickly as possible.  

If you have recently completed a COVID-vaccination shift within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, you will be reimbursed using the current payment mechanism.  If you have an upcoming shift, this will unfortunately be cancelled (this will not have any detrimental effect on your record).  The Nursing & Midwifery Staff Bank are aware of the need of this urgent change and will make the necessary adjustments on your Employee OnLine account.  You will not be able to book any shifts until the new payment mechanism is in place. 

As outlined above, we fully appreciate the value you have to offer to the COVID-vaccinator workforce.  Therefore, rest assured we will do all we can to expedite this change process.  However, we are unable to provide you with an indicative timeframe on this occasion.  We will of course, keep you updated as the change progresses.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

The PDA is writing urgently to the Health boards that have taken this action for clarity of how and why this decision has been made and will update our members in Scotland ASAP


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