COVID-19 Q&A: for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians

Over the past few months we have compiled answers to all the questions we are being asked in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. We have categorised these by theme, use the links below to navigate to each of the pages.

We review this questions and answers page regularly.Last reviewed 20 July 2020.

Finding a patient-facing role

Key worker ID

Pharmacy operations   

Finding a patient-facing role

I currently work in a non-patient-facing role but want to help out in the NHS or community pharmacy during the COVID-19 emergency. What do I need to consider and how can I find a role?

You would have to work within the limits of your knowledge and skills and refer to others when needed, if you chose to return to a patient-facing role. You would also need to make sure you had appropriate indemnity insurance for your practice – your current indemnity provider (if you have one) and/or your new employer should help with this.

Please find below information on how to find a role in your country.

Roles in England

If you are interested in working for the NHS or in community pharmacy in England, please see the NHS England and NHS Improvement website.

Roles in Scotland

The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Scotland, Rose Marie Parr, has written a letter appealing to pharmacy professionals on the GPhC’s temporary register to return to practice.

Please visit the COVID-19 accelerated recruitment page on the NHS Scotland Careers website and register on the portal if you would like to work for NHS Scotland.

Please also visit the Scottish Government website for more information on returning to practise in Scotland.

Roles in Wales

If you are interested in working for the NHS in Wales, please see the Welsh Government websitefor more information.

Can you provide any refresher training to help me prepare to go back into a patient-facing role?

Please contact the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education, which has produced a specific guide to support pharmacy professionals in returning to pharmacy practice via the temporary register, Health Education and Improvement Wales or NHS Education for Scotland, depending on which country you live in, as they can signpost you to relevant training and resources.

Training providers such as Buttercups are also delivering free short courses to help pharmacies during COVID-19, with pandemic training for additional non-pharmacy trained staff and delivery personnel. 

Key worker ID

How can I and other members of my pharmacy team demonstrate that we are key NHS workers when travelling to and from work?

You and your colleagues can download this letter, co-signed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), which you can show to law enforcement teams to confirm that you are an NHS key worker and need to travel between your home and place of work.

What personal protective equipment (PPE) should my team and I be wearing when providing pharmacy services?

Information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for pharmacy teams in England, Scotland and Wales can be found on the Public Health England website which provides guidance on COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC).

NHS England provides further information on infection control under the primary care sections of the website and in the community pharmacy standard operating procedure.

Health Protection Scotland provides further resources for Scotland to support the Public Health England infection prevention and control advice.

Public Health Wales also provides further resources for Wales.   

Pharmacy operations

Should pharmacy professionals and pharmacy team members be asked to work alone when the pharmacy is open during the pandemic?

Ourstandards for registered pharmacies include that pharmacy owners should make sure there are enough staff, suitably qualified and skilled, for the safe and effective provision of the pharmacy services provided.

Asking any member of the pharmacy team to work alone increases potential risks to their safety, as well as the safety of patients and the public.