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Locums ‘ready and willing’ to take part in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Locum pharmacists are keen to get involved with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, a survey by Wales-based pharmacy agency New Directions Pharmacy has found.

The survey – which ran between November 23 and January 18 – attracted responses from 266 locums across the UK.

Almost all (93%) of the locums who responded to the survey said they “would be willing to be part of the vaccine rollout” once appropriately trained. Of these, 96% said “they would be ready to start working as soon as possible in order to help out”.

Head of pharmacy services at New Directions Pharmacy, Elen Searle, said these results confirm that locum pharmacists “are ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and help get the people in their communities vaccinated as soon as possible”.

“Let’s use this army of locum pharmacists to get Wales and the rest of the UK immune as soon as possible, as the will is there,” Ms Searle said.

She added that in Wales there is “an entire workforce… of trained and experienced pharmacists” who deliver different vaccination programmes every year. “They could be playing an integral part in the rollout right now,” Ms Searle added.

Fewer locums employed during this period

Commenting on the survey results, Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) told C+D last week (January 21) that it is not surprising that locum pharmacists want to get involved with the vaccination programme.

The Welsh negotiator added that it knows “anecdotally that fewer locum pharmacists are being used in community pharmacies during this period and that’s a resource that is being underutilised in the vaccination programme”.

“Locum community pharmacists could be being used now in mass vaccination centres in Wales while we continue to wait for community pharmacies to be commissioned as part of the service,” it added.

CPW announced last week (January 20) that all Welsh health boards have invited community pharmacies to express their interest in taking part in the vaccination programme.

Only one community pharmacy in Wales has been offering COVID-19 vaccinations as part of a three-day pilot. Earlier this month, CPW wrote to health and social services minister Vaughan Gething to make the case for all pharmacies that normally administer the flu vaccines to be “immediately invited” to take part in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Is your pharmacy employing locums to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme?

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