Open access article
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has made this article free to access in order to help healthcare professionals stay informed about an issue of national importance.
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Pharmacy staff who are thought to have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are to be among the healthcare workers remembered with a minute’s silence on 28 April 2020.
The tribute will be held at 11:00 as part of International Workers’ Memorial Day 2020, with three pharmacists and a checking technician among those remembered.
The death of hospital pharmacist Pooja Sharma was announced by the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, where she worked, on 8 April 2020, and community pharmacists Jayesh Bhanubhai Patel and Mehool Patel have also died. On 10 April 2020, Swettenham Chemists, Cheshire, confirmed that registered checking technician Mandy Siddorn, who worked at their Wirral and Chester branches, had died as a result of contracting SARS-CoV-2.
Paul Bennett, the Society’s chief executive, said: “Everyone here at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is deeply saddened to hear of the death of any healthcare professional from COVID-19”.
“Pharmacists and their teams are making an incredible contribution to the front line. News that anyone in the pharmacy family has passed away from the virus is a tragedy.
“The pharmacists we have lost went to work every day to support patients. Each loss is not only heart-breaking for their family, friends and colleagues, but also for all the patients they helped support during their career.
“It’s important to remember that the NHS frontline is a tough place to be right now, but one staffed by pharmacists with the utmost dedication. We owe them all an enormous debt. They are truly extraordinary.
“We offer our sincere condolences to the families of the those who have died at this very difficult time.”
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), said that “everyone at the GPhC is deeply saddened that Pooja Sharma, Jayesh Bhanubhai Patel, Mehool Patel and Mandy Siddorn have lost their lives due to coronavirus.”
“I would like to thank each of them for their service to patients and the public and the pharmacy profession.
“I am writing to their families to express that our condolences and our thoughts are with them, as well as with colleagues and friends, at this difficult time.”
Paul Day, director of the Pharmacists’ Defence Assocation, said that “our first thoughts are with the family and friends, and we send our condolences to them. It is terrible that anyone should die.
“We don’t know where they contracted the virus, but COVID-19 is clearly a risk to all pharmacy teams, who could pick it up at work from each other and from patients. This emphasises why employers must protect staff at work.”
Mark Lyonette, chief executive at the National Pharmacy Association, said: “It is just so terribly sad. My heart goes out to their families, friends and colleagues.”