To: All Members Boots Ashbourne
Re: COVID-19 Testing Service
From: Keith Pollard, Divisional Organiser
Date: 14th January 2021
Further to Mandates update Re: The Boots COVID-19 Testing Service which was disseminated to all members in the testing stores by text message on the 05th January 2021, further concerns were raised with the undersigned with regard to the Ashbourne Store. As a result of these further concerns being raised with Mandate, the undersigned wrote to Ms. Rachel Nolan, copy of correspondence below.
Mandate received a response to our correspondence this afternoon and I have included a copy of the response below.
If you have any further questions or concerns with regard to this matter then please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned on 01 8746321 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org .
For Mandate Trade Union
From: Keith Pollard
Sent: 11 January 2021 16:44
To: Rachel Nolan
Cc: Jonathan Hogan
Subject: Boots COVID-19 Testing Service Procedures
I hope this email finds you safe and well.
Further to Mandates correspondence of the 10th December 2020 and your response of the 22nd December 2020 with regard to the COVID-19 Testing Service being provided by Boots in certain stores, it has been reported to the undersigned that one of the safeguards for our members outlined in your correspondence has since ceased taking place.
Your correspondence clearly states “The customer will be asked a number of questions to ensure their suitability for the service. Customers will be contacted by a member of the Pharmacy Team prior to their appointment to discuss the necessary criteria further.” It has been reported to the undersigned that this no longer takes place and pharmacists have been instructed not to call customers in advance of their testing appointment.
It would be appreciated if you could establish at your earliest opportunity as to whether this safeguard has ceased taking place in-store as this step in the procedure is essential in ensuring that any customers who are symptomatic of COVID-19 or who are close contacts should not avail of the service and they should contact their GP or the HSE instead of coming into the store and placing our members, your colleagues at risk.
I look forward to your early response.
From: Rachel Nolan
Sent: 14 January 2021 15:49
To: Keith Pollard
Cc: Jonathan Hogan
Subject: RE: Boots COVID-19 Testing Service Procedures
In reply to your email sent January 11th please see below.
As you will be aware the availability of a testing service is recently developed and allows Boots to continue to support their local communities. There is currently no testing provision under the National Testing Strategy for patients that are not experiencing symptoms and by providing a private testing service, Boots can provide a convenient and accessible solution to support the national programme by increasing access to testing.
The operation of the service is subject to continued review during these early stages of its inception across 10 stores. As you will be aware Government guidance and travel requirements are constantly changing which are consistently reviewed and amendments made as necessary in the delivery of this service and to the information on boots.ie or sent to customers.
The service remains unsuitable for anyone who has any symptoms of COVID-19 and these customers are advised to follow government guidance, self-isolate and speak to their doctor.
For customers wishing to avail of the service they book an appointment online through boots.ie. The customer is informed as part of the terms and conditions that the service is not suitable for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 and are asked not to book an appointment or come into store if they think they have COVID-19, which includes being a close contact, or if anyone in their household or support bubble have symptoms or they are classed as a close contact. The wording on boots.ie has been amended in line with recent HSE changes regarding testing. Anybody booking the service is asked to confirm they accept the terms and conditions and asked not to attend their appointment if they fall into the above categories or develop symptoms prior to their test.
These guidelines apply to all of us and our personal responsibilities remain to stay at home and not go to shops, pharmacies or other venues or use public transport and to isolate if required. Any of us can unfortunately, suddenly, develop the onset of symptoms and must act responsibly accordingly.
In the constant review of the service with our pharmacists the phone call the day before the test was deemed ineffective as customers circumstances can rapidly change. Therefore, the customer could feel fine the day before the test during the phone call with the pharmacist, but then experience the onset of symptoms prior to their appointment. So as to assure that a COVID-19 symptoms check is completed at the most critical time, a pre-screen is conducted with customers who come to the pharmacy for their appointment which captures formally up to the minute information that the customer meets the necessary criteria to continue to be eligible to avail of the service. This pre-screen takes place in an open, well ventilated area of the store, behind Perspex screens with Type II grade surgical masks worn always. In addition to the clear guidance on boots.ie, customer communications and the pre-screen check, the pharmacist then again checks the customer’s information prior to conducting the service in the consultation room. Customers can be refused the test, or they can cancel with no charge at any time. The safety of our colleagues continues to be our priority and our pharmacists are fully trained in infection prevention control measures including best practice relating to the donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment. Clear policies aimed at managing risks have been put in place including Standard Operating Procedures and Risk Assessments.
The service will continue to be monitored and reviewed and Boots are committed to supporting the national response to COVID- 19 in the communities we serve as a primary healthcare provider.
HR Operations Manager Boots Ireland