DHSC confirms the Government’s safety net indemnity applies to community pharmacy

DHSC confirms the Government’s safety net indemnity applies to community pharmacy

May 5, 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that community pharmacy is covered by the Government’s safety net indemnity provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020. DHSC has confirmed that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has made arrangements with NHS Resolution for the safety net indemnity to apply to community pharmacy, confirming that:

….where COVID related activity on behalf of the NHS is not covered [by existing indemnity arrangements], lawyers have confirmed that the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (CVA) cover community pharmacy teams.

The Coronavirus Act does give the Secretary of State powers to provide or arrange for the provision of the indemnity described in the Act, but the question is whether those powers have been exercised – whether the Secretary of State has in fact provided or arranged for the provision of that safety net indemnity. DHSC has confirmed that it has been arranged.

PSNC has asked for details of the claim procedure for community pharmacy and requested that the wording of a related FAQ on NHS Resolution’s website (see below) is clarified. DHSC has confirmed it is looking at the way they have answered the question in the FAQs and will come back to PSNC on the developing claim procedure.  Further information is available from the NPA and PDA.


Concern arose due to information on NHS Resolution’s website and some other public information which suggested the Government’s safety net indemnity might not have been arranged for community pharmacy. The information on NHS Resolution’s website indicates that in most cases contractors’ existing indemnity arrangements, for example, those with the NPA or PDA, will cover COVID related activities – which is correct – but then goes on to state that:

  1. What are the indemnity arrangements for community pharmacists, including those returning to the profession to help with the response to the coronavirus pandemic?

…Where existing indemnity arrangements are not in place, or do not provide sufficient cover for the NHS services a pharmacist is providing as a consequence of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Coronavirus Act 2020 contains a coronavirus indemnity safety net provision. This gives the Secretary of State powers to provide indemnity for clinical negligence liabilities arising from NHS activities carried out for the purposes of dealing with, or in consequence of, the coronavirus outbreak, ensuring that staff have indemnity cover.

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