Community pharmacy contractors in Scotland can claim up to £1,500 per premises for installing ventilation equipment to protect against COVID-19 transmission, the government has said.
In a letter to community pharmacies sent on 3 March 2022, the Scottish government said that contractors could claim the funding “where a pharmacy has fitted or committed to fit air extraction equipment on or after 1 April 2020”.
To claim the funding, the letter said that the air ventilation system must be “used to support clinical practice in one or more consulting room locations”.
However, it added that contractors are ineligible for the funding “if a consultation room has a window to provide ventilation”.
“While the situation with COVID-19 has improved recently in Scotland, we also need to be mindful that the situation can deteriorate relatively quickly,” the letter explained.
“As such, it is important that the community pharmacy sector does what it can to protect members of the public, patients and staff from the risk of respiratory infections, including COVID-19.”
Adam Osprey, policy and development pharmacist at Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS), welcomed the additional funding. “It makes sense that it has been released now — although mask-wearing is still required of the public in community pharmacies, this will not always be the case.
“Pharmacy teams need to be confident that their working environments are as safe as possible, and this includes considering the air flow and quality, particularly in enclosed spaces such as consultation rooms,” he said.
When asked whether £1,500 would be enough to make these modifications, Osprey said CPS is “content that the level of funding made available matches that of other primary care contractor groups”.
Clare Morrison, director of RPS Scotland, said: “As we re-emerge from the pandemic, it’s important that we all take appropriate measures to protect one another, especially those who are particularly vulnerable. This investment is a sensible measure, that will limit the spread of infection and provide people with confidence as we go about our everyday lives.”
This is the latest round of funding from the Scottish government to support community pharmacies with costs incurred owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, having previously offered support packages worth £5.3m in April 2020 and a further £4.5m in November 2020.
Contractors have until 31 March 2022 to submit claims for funding the installation of a new ventilation system.