As the roll-out of the Covid vaccine continues and questions are raised about the speed of its distribution, specialist recruiter New Directions Pharmacy found that nearly all of the locums it places into community pharmacies would be willing to administer the vaccine.
93% of the locum pharmacists who replied to the survey* said that they would be willing to be part of the vaccine roll-out, with the appropriate training, and 96% of those have said they would be ready to start working as soon as possible in order to help out.
New Directions Pharmacy has more than 5,000 locum pharmacy professionals on its books. With pressure mounting on health authorities across the UK to speed the roll-out of the vaccine it decided to ask its locums how they felt about answering the vaccine call. Their response was similar to that of other membership organisations such as Community Pharmacy Wales.
Elen Searle, Head of Pharmacy Services at New Directions Pharmacy, said: “There is an army of community locum pharmacists ready and willing to help with this vaccine roll-out.
“In Wales alone, we already have an entire workforce of pharmacists within our communities that are trained and experienced at delivering vaccination programmes every year, for example the annual flu vaccinations. They could be playing an integral part in the roll-out right now.”
Online training that must be completed to administer the vaccine is now open to non-NHS professionals in England and is also available to pharmacists in all UK countries, however without having definite confirmation of which (or all) vaccine they could be administering, it’s hard for pharmacists to know which training to prioritise. Any additional or individual country specific training requirements are still yet to be confirmed, however, with additional requirements a possibility in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Elen added: “The results of our survey affirmed what we already knew about our locum pharmacists; that is, they 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.”
One such locum is Jaikishan Ramji, a Cardiff-based pharmacist who works in communities around the south Wales area in large and small pharmacies: “Being a locum means that I can work anywhere at any time, and that offers me flexibility personally and would offer the NHS and the vaccine roll-out flexibility also, as locums could move to an area with the most need, ie. the area with an older population or more chronic illnesses.
“I would be more than willing to work administering the vaccine, and I would welcome the opportunity to help to use my skills and clinical knowledge to fight the pandemic, as I’m sure most of my other locum pharmacist colleagues would be.”
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