All essential/key workers need adequate PPE, support and recognition
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Following recent news, experiences, headlines and interactions, I've decided to change the course of this petition to not only highlight the needs of Pharmacy staff (which I believe is still an important case), but to now highlight the needs of all key workers made continue working to help fight against this pandemic.
Recently, we've sadly heard of, TFL workers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, volunteers, our PM etc. suffering from this virus. It's now time to ramp up the safety of all people made to work to minimise the disruption to everyone's lives and keep the world turning during this uneasy time. These workers, need appropriate PPE to protect themselves so they can work to protect you!
It's now time that we stop looking at every sector as individuals, i.e. healthcare workers, TFL transport workers, delivery workers/postmen, caterers, volunteers and even politicians (note: this list is not exhaustive). This virus does not discriminate against it's victims, as we've seen and nor should we. We need to ensure that everyone supports each other, and work in a Pangea-esq fashion to fight back.
We need to start pushing for all workers to get the following:
- Access to appropriate PPE - in-line with WHO and NHSE guidance.
- Rights outlined for workers (i.e. if they do not feel safe or secure in their working environment, they have the right to say so and not face dismissal or poor treatment or worry about the status of their job/future).
- Planning contingencies to ensure that if a worker doesn't have access to the appropriate PPE, there are measures in place to ensure that their risk is minimised.
- Reduce the number of people that "need" to work, or amend shift patterns to reduce the quantity of people working at any given time. (e.g. fewer trains and busses etc) - as long as the workers are supported fairly during their time off.
- Enforce stricter isolation laws (as Italy has done) just to buy the NHS time to get ahead of the curve!
-Unions need to support their workers and make appropriate arrangements to reduce the number of workers out, thus reducing the risk of contact spreading, and assurance of their futures and income.
These actions should have been done pro-actively, not reactively. We shouldn't have had to wait for workers to suffer or pass away and them to make headlines, for these simple safety policies to be in place.
The faster we get adequate PPE, and the faster we reduce the number of "key workers" out, the faster we will curb the spread and buy time to care for those in need.
The Government need to prioritise funding PPE, reducing the number of workers still out (whilst ensuring their futures are still safe), and buy the NHS time, to buy the people time.
As always, Pharmacists tend to fall off the radar when there is a health crisis, but we all continually strive to work hard and incessantly, and now is the time to help those pharmacies inundated by work, immobilised by Government cuts to pharmacies and under extreme stress.
We are front-line staff too and are asked to stay in post and work harder, which we are doing, but severely struggling.
some requests are:
Access to PPE if we need it.
work on strategies to increase the pharmacy workforce (like re mobilising retired staff, or calling on students in University to assist struggling individuals.
Provide the same level of NHS employee benefits you provide doctors, nurses and HCAs - i.e. if a patient has children but they're a key worker, help with childcare. Or if key workers expected to come into high risk zones are doing it, but have vulnerable people at home (i.e. young, eldery etc) provide temp accommodation for them too, like doctors and nurses are receiving.
Give us the minimal means our pharmacy teams need to provide a safe and quality service!
Community pharmacies are one of the few professions that have to continue face to face work with patients, some patients have been signposted to their pharmacist as GP practices are also inundated with their workload. In some cases, I’ve heard GP practices have closed, so patients are redirected to their pharmacy without causing more strain. They cannot manage with this level of funding (which has been cut several times over the past couple of years) and are experiencing pressures on running costs. Pharmacists are working longer hours with an increase in distressed customers.
Pharmacists do not qualify for protective clothing or protective equipment for everyday protection in the current climate. Covid-19 testing for all community and hospital pharmacists and their staff should be a priority as soon as available in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading and pharmacies closing down as they are front line staff interacting with all members of the public.
staff want all pharmacy team members to get appreciation and support and ask the Government consider us when making decisions and ensure our safety, and ensure we have access to the same rights, support and care that doctors, nurses, porters, HCAs etc. receive.
Hospital Pharmacy staff have remained open, called to action (quietly) and are fluidly working across critical wards (including corona isolation units), various hospitals and community pharmacies and will continue to strive to support everyone the best we can.
Sadly, Pharmacists are no one’s priority ever, and all pharmacies/pharmacy staff are crumbling under the pressure. It's time we start supporting EVERY front-liner who remain ready and in action and request respect recognition and help! Just like hundreds of doctors and nurses (retirees) are being called to action, we pharmacists need to do the same, for pharmacy! But we need the Government to help us!
**Image from PHE public site referenced below picture.**
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