Pharmacists survey suggests workplace Covid infection common
Four in 10 community pharmacists who were infected with Covid-19 believe they caught the disease at work, according to a survey by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association.
The survey drew responses from 556 PDA members and 122 community pharmacists who took part said they were infected with the virus, with 49 of those saying their infection occurred in their workplace.
Just five out of those 49 pharmacists said their employer reported the infection to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
RIDDOR places a legal duty on employers to report occupational exposure to the disease but not cases or deaths involving the public, patients, care home residents or service users. However, Parliament recently heard that there were no Covid-19 notifications from pharmacies to HSE between April 10 and May 30.
The PDA urged pharmacy employers earlier this month to review where members of their teams were when they were infected with coronavirus and report any cases of occupational exposure to the disease to the HSE.
The PDA claimed the government and the General Pharmaceutical Council had not “expressed any intention to investigate why there have been no reports in community pharmacy under this important health and safety law.”
The PDA also said the Government had failed to respond to its call for talks between the two parties and the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers to discuss the issue.