COVID-19 – Information for pharmacies

COVID-19 – Information for pharmacies

April 6, 2021

COVID-19 Information for pharmacies – Updated 26/03/21

Humber LPC Office:
All staff members of Humber LPC will be continuing to work remotely; however you can contact us by email on: humber.lpc@nhs.net, or alternatively you can call us on 01482 335824.

You may also be able to find the information you are looking for by searching on our website: https://communitypharmacyhumber.co.uk/ or searching PSNC website: http://psnc.org.uk/

Roadmap out of lockdown:

In line with the government’s COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 roadmap published in February, those on the shielded patient list can, from 1st April, begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population, but are still advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Find out more here: Shielding for CEV patients to stop from 1st April 2021. Full lockdown guidance can be found here.

Guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection can be found here

Pandemic Delivery Service:

The Government has advised that from 1st April 2021 all clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients in England will no longer be required to shield; all CEV patients should have received a letter notifying them of this. Learn more about the end of shielding

Community pharmacy contractors should be aware that the Pandemic Delivery Service for CEV patients will finish on 31st March 2021, although the service will continue for people who have been notified of the need to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme is available to help support those who need it. Volunteers can collect and deliver shopping, medication and other essential supplies. Visit www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk for more info.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
It is prudent to remind you of the importance of pharmacy staff wearing the appropriate PPE in line with the latest guidelines to protect themselves, their colleagues and patients when they are at work. Wearing the correct PPE is also important to mitigate the risk of potential closures of pharmacies through the Test and Trace system, please consider how you use the NHS app. View the latest guidance for pharmacy teams on the wearing of PPE.  If you do need to close fully or partially please inform NHSE and also let us know as this information shows the pressures you are all under and can be useful to the PSNC.

PPE Portal:
Contractors can continue to order free of charge PPE for use in their pharmacy via the DHSC’s PPE portal, and should ensure they have registered for this, find out how to do so here.

Do you know what to do and who you have to inform if your pharmacy has to close in an emergency?

  • PSNC have produced a checklist for emergency closures which we would advise you follow.
  • Ensure you check your company specific business continuity plan.
  • PSNC also has useful information on maintaining access to pharmacy services on its network resilience page.
  • Alert NHS England by completing the failure to open notification platform on PharmOutcomes.
  • Update your NHS 111 DoS and NHS UK website profiles, this is now a contractual requirement to keep your profiles up to date.
  • Also please let the LPC know and consider dropping an email into your PCN via the gaggle group.

Delivery of Pharmacy Services during the COVID-19 Lockdown:
Pharmacies should consider the delivery of both core/essential services and nationally/locally commissioned services.

Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework Essential Services consist of the following:

  • Dispensing Medicines and Appliances: Including provision of appropriate advice to the patient to enable them to utilise the medication or appliance and to meet their personal need for general information on the item. A suitable remote delivery mechanism for the provision of advice regarding dispensed medicines/ appliances should be in place.
  • Repeat Dispensing
  • Disposal of Unwanted Medicines: The contractual requirement for community pharmacies to accept unwanted/out-of-date/waste medicines for disposal from the public remains an important service during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it does bring potential risks for pharmacy teams. PSNC worked with the National Pharmacy Association, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group to produce the joint guidance for community pharmacies in EnglandIf a pharmacy is temporarily unable to safely continue with the service due to clinical waste bins being full, inform the NHSE area team who will arrange an earlier bin collection.
  • Public Health (Promotion of Health Lifestyles)
  • Clinical Governance
  • Signposting
  • Support for Self-Care: through the provision of remote or direct health care advice.

Ongoing delivery of essential services is part of the community pharmacy contractual framework. Please see ‘opening hours’ information regarding any local dispensations and options for closed door working and the flexible provision of hours.

NHS Advanced services which can be delivered remotely during the lockdown include:

  • New Medicines Service (NMS)
  • Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS)

Locally commissioned enhanced services:
For specific COVID-safe service delivery considerations, please refer to the ‘Restarting Services Document’ shared via direct email to all pharmacies.

Services for people who use drugs:
Services should continue during lockdown; however contingency arrangements should be discussed with the local Drug Action Team, to ensure alternative solutions are in place to support clients who are supervised, or have daily pick up who are symptomatic or isolating. See shared care service provision guidance.

If you are unable to provide a locally commissioned service which your pharmacy holds a contract to deliver, you must check the contract terms to determine any steps you may need to undertake in order to avoid a breach of contract.

The contract may require you to contact the commissioner to discuss any temporary issues regarding provision of the service.

Opening hours:

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) regional teams may notify pharmacies that they may work behind closed doors without the need for contractors to apply for such closed-door working. This is to help pharmacies to respond to the workload and staffing pressures of this wave of the pandemic.

NHSE&I agree closed door working following consultation with the LPC and whether it is granted depends on the local or regional situation.

Closed door working is as described in the NHSE&I CPVID-19 SOP and is for up to a maximum of 2.5 hours a day, but not during the protected opening hours of 10am-12noon and 2pm-4pm (or 10-12 noon and 2-6pm for 100-hour pharmacies). Closed door working may be for one or more days during the week or all days a pharmacy is open.

NHSE&I give such notification via a pharmacy’s shared NHSmail account, and the discretion to use the closed-door working lies with the responsible pharmacist in the pharmacy.

Further info on closed door working and flexible temporary opening hours that may be requested from NHSE&I during an emergency is available via the SOP and PSNCs Network Resilience page.


Requirement to sign prescriptions and submit EPS tokens is still suspended:

Ministers in England have agreed to extend the temporary suspension of the requirement for patients (or their representatives) to sign the back of NHS prescription forms or EPS tokens until 30th June 2021.

Whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place, contractors are not required to submit EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). PSNC has published updated guidance on the changes to the dispensing and end of month submission processes as well as important reminders for pharmacy staff on the correct completion of exempt or paid declarations on the reverse of prescription forms and EPS tokens.

Learn more about the extension of the suspension of signatures on prescriptions

Outbreak Reporting & Network Resilience:
A revised IIMARCH letter and form that should be used for notifying and updating outbreaks of COVID-19 in NHS services has been added to our Network Resilience page on the link below:

Visit our Network Resilience page

Print PDF of this information: 

COVID-19 – Information for pharmacies

 



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