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Pharmacy teams not automatically eligible for COVID-19 life assurance

The scheme covers “eligible” frontline health and care staff in England who die from COVID-19
The scheme covers “eligible” frontline health and care staff in England who die from COVID-19

Families of pharmacists who die from COVID-19 will only receive a death in service payment in “exceptional circumstances”, the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has said.

The new scheme, which guarantees a £60,000 life assurance payout to the families of “eligible” frontline health and care staff in England who die from the virus, does not automatically cover pharmacy teams.

The scheme was announced by health secretary Matt Hancock at the daily Downing Street COVID-19 briefing yesterday (April 27). However, it will only extend to pharmacists “in exceptional circumstances”, the DH told C+D today (April 28).

It added that, in such situations, “the scheme can consider” cases involving pharmacists. C+D has asked the DH for examples of what these “exceptional circumstances” might be. 

The life assurance scheme is for workers who provide “hands-on personal care” for people who have contracted coronavirus, or those who “work in health or care settings where the virus is present” the DH said in a statement published this morning

In response to this announcement, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) chair Mark Koziol has written to Mr Hancock asking him to include those working in community pharmacies.

He said it would be “utterly perverse and wrong” if pharmacists and their teams are not eligible for the scheme. 

“Community pharmacy has become the front line dealing with the public, many of whom will still present with symptoms of COVID-19,” Mr Koziol added.

The scheme is time-limited, “providing cover for the duration of the pandemic”, as part of the emergency response that came into effect with the implementation of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on March 25, the DH said. 

The health secretary will announce the closure of the scheme “at the conclusion of the emergency response”, it added.

While this life assurance scheme only covers to health and social care staff in England, “Wales is implementing the same scheme and arrangements are being considered in Scotland and Northern Ireland”, the DH said.

Sign the petition asking the DH for life assurance for community pharmacy teams here

Do you think pharmacy workers should be included in the scheme?

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

The definition of an unfilled career. Study a wonderful course, and actually use it to qualify for a professional sector scorned until a crisis hits. Praise is awarded, but no protection, or recompense for providing essential service.

O J, Community pharmacist

Bhavin khima, Community pharmacist

Even in death we have to jump through hoops to get paid

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Once again, pharmacy is only seen as part of the NHS when it suits, i.e. when there is the crap to be picked up.

We are FRONTLINE healthcare professionals and as such have close contact with the public (far too close at times - social distancing goes out of the window when a bloke wants viagra I've realised). If I'm an invisible carrier, I could have infected literally HUNDREDS of others so surely it is in everyones interest to know if I have this thing or not?

If I die of it, it will be the fault of my job because that's the way I would have caught it. Anyone who is considered an essential worker should be covered - why is the person on the checkout ensuring that the NHS nurse can still buy their food seen as a lesser person? 'We are all in this together' is frankly a load of cobblers. It should read 'You're on your own, matey, unless the politicians think you will increase their vote share'  

Just to make things ABSOLUTELY clear - I am not dissing NHS nurses and doctors working in hospital settings who are knowingly and willingly putting their lives on the line every minute of their working day and deserve all of the plaudits they get. I just think the smaller cogs in the mechanism shouldn't be forgotten as without them, the whole thing grinds to a halt.

Stephen Kane, Community pharmacist

Are we ever going to stop letting ourselves be walked over.

Will the PSNC ever start standing up for us 

We must find an alternative to the PSNC.



Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

The really stupid thing is, that this is a colossal blunder if ANYONE in a Pharmacy representative body had the guts to make themselves unpopular with the govt and theconnections to make it a media item.
No one has either because they don't use them.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Every day, this pandemic takes me one step closer to jacking it all in. We are not respected by our paymasters or our public; we are not valued by our paymasters or our public. What makes it so laughable is the public still think their precious GP gives more than a flying [email protected]&£ about them!


Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

99% of community Pharmacists say they'll jack it in but never do.

fab fabioso, Locum pharmacist

Economics. Despite its massive decline in pay, status, quality of work etc, Community pharmacy is still a better bet than 90% of the other jobs out there. Especially the ones that don't involve a massive and daunting  amount of time and money being invested in training.   

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

exactly.....wonder how may people in all postions of power will remember that gps closed doors and pharmacy opened theirs when all this horror is over


O J, Community pharmacist

No one. No one gives a monkeys about monkeys. Does the sector really think they deserve any credit ? You get the weekly appreciation on thursday. What more you want? Just take suck it up as you have been for decades.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

That's an easy one to answer - Sweet Fanny Adams

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Pharmacists .and pharmacy teams..please stop bending over backwards for everyone...looks one in authority gives a damn about all the risks you are taking to help Joe public during this awful time....LOOK AFTER YOURSELVES

Pear Tree, Community pharmacist

The message is loud and clear to prospective students thinking of studying pharmacy. During this pandemic, GPs have been shielded from the virus while pharmacist have been used as cannon fodder in the frontline, forced to stay open on bank holidays, refused PPE, excluded from the definition of key worker, and now, their families deprived of any sort of help should they perish in the fight against the virus.

ABC DEF, Primary care pharmacist

Keyworker (noun), definition:

A person whose work is overlooked and undervalued, until the sxxt hits the fan.

Pharmacy staff (noun), definition:

A person whose work is overlooked and undervalued, EVEN WHEN the sxxt hits the fan, who is also seen as cannon fodder and expendable just like a condom.

Gavin Dobson, Academic pharmacist

Are forested areas the preferred defaecation sites for ursine mammals?

ABC DEF, Primary care pharmacist

Not surprised. Community pharmacists and their teams were NEVER valued anyways when you look back in history. Some people try to argue that we are part of the NHS. I ask them just one question - "Do we get NHS pension?" No. End of.

So glad I'm outta this sector.

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

Same. I left community years ago, and it was the best thing I ever done. If I die in service, my company pays out 8 times my salary to my family. Why on Earth Pharmacists continue in patient facing roles when they've been treated like this for years is beyond me.

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