Community pharmacy staff in Scotland are to receive a one-off payment of £500 from the Scottish Government as thanks for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday November 30 that health workers including nurses, doctors, porters and pharmacy workers would receive a pro-rated payment of £500 “as soon as is practicable”.
The payment is being made to all NHS and social care workers employed since March 17 2020, including those who have retired since then or who have had to shield.
Over 300,000 health workers are set to benefit, amounting to a total payment of around £180m from the Scottish Government.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Back in the spring, at the height of the first wave of Covid, many of us publicly – and often loudly – showed our appreciation for the work our NHS and social care staff were doing.
“The applause was important, but it was never enough. Our appreciation must be shown in a more tangible way.”
Ms Sturgeon said that while the Government was in the early stages of negotiating a new NHS pay deal this would take time and “those who have worked… at the sharpest end of the Covid trauma deserve recognition now”.
“The money will be paid in this financial year and it will be separate from any negotiations about pay for the longer term. There are no strings attached.
“Those who work part time will get a proportionate share.”
Sector negotiator Community Pharmacy Scotland responded to the news: “CPS is delighted with the news yesterday that pharmacy team members will be financially recognised by Scottish Government due to their contribution through this pandemic.
“It has been said many times that community pharmacy team members have been going above and beyond through this period and have played an integral part of the NHS response to Covid-19. This recognises this in real terms.
“The details of this unique payment to individuals from Scottish Government will have to be worked through as pharmacies are independently contracted to deliver NHS services and the NHS is not the direct employer of individuals who work in community pharmacy teams.
CPS will work to deliver as practical a solution as is possible in a timely manner and work will start on this with our members and Scottish Government, in the coming days and weeks.