EPB chair: Don't take away pharmacists' Covid vaccine indemnity
English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind has written to Nadhim Zahawi, the minister responsible for Covid vaccine deployment, to express her concern that pharmacies taking part in the vaccination programme this autumn and winter will no longer be insured by the government.
In her letter to Mr Zahawi, Ms Govind (pictured) said she was "surprised and concerned" that pharmacists providing Covid jabs as part of phase three of the roll-out will have to pay for their own indemnity and called on him to "look into this as soon as possible to treat pharmacists fairly".
"Just as the government is looking to widen uptake of vaccinations, expecting community pharmacists to now start paying for their own indemnity insurance is an extraordinary position," she wrote.
She warned taking away pharmacists' indemnity would create "an unnecessary and avoidable barrier to boosting the number of vaccinators" and said that was "inequitable with other health professions".
Ms Govind also insisted "the entire pharmacy profession was appalled when community pharmacists" were initially excluded from the government’s death in service benefits scheme before a U-turn by the Department of Health and Social Care and insisted it was "incredibly disappointing to be revisiting this kind of issue now".
"We welcomed the state-backed indemnity scheme for community pharmacists during the previous phases of Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and this should continue," she wrote.
"Pharmacists have been on the frontline of Covid-19 from the outset, delivering patient care in the most challenging of circumstances. They should not now be asked to pay personally out of their own pocket to help deliver this national ambition on vaccinations."