NHS Test and Trace: December 2020 update

PSNC has issued an update on the application of the NHS Test and Trace service to community pharmacies.

In early October, PSNC, the Association of Independent Multiples (AIM), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) wrote a letter to raise concerns about the impact of Test and Trace on the sector with the Pharmacy Minister.

Whilst PSNC had hoped for sector specific advice on this issue, this has not been forthcoming. PSNC has therefore decided it would be pragmatic to release the Government’s response to their letter and recommends that pharmacy contractors and their teams follow the official documents for the healthcare sector referred to within it.

Read the Government and NHSE&I guidance here


For those pharmacy staff who have downloaded and are using the NHS COVID-19 app, NHSE&I advises healthcare workers to pause the app while working in a healthcare building, such as a hospital or GP surgery or  NHS community pharmacy. The app should also be paused if working behind a fixed Perspex (or equivalent) screen, which is big enough to provide adequate protection.

Further advice on the app for healthcare workers can be found on the NHS website

Positive tests and self-isolation
If a member of your pharmacy team tests positive for coronavirus they should self-isolate for 10 days (from the date the symptoms started), NHS Test and Trace will assess whether other pharmacy staff have been at risk of contracting coronavirus, and whether anybody else should self-isolate. Generally, these assessments are undertaken by the Public Health England (PHE) Local Health Protection Team. If a staff member is contacted by Test and Trace (or goes on to Test and Trace online) and is asked to say or write a list of names of contacts or recent close contacts relating to work in a pharmacy, the staff member should give the name, address and contact details of the pharmacy only and should NOT give the names of pharmacy staff with whom they work. This is to avoid automatic texts informing pharmacy staff that they are (recent close) contacts and must self-isolate for 14 days; once isolation messages have been sent to individuals these are difficult for the Local Health Protection Team to subsequently over-turn, if appropriate.

If you do have to self-isolate staff or close down please let the LPC know by emailing humber.lpc@nhs.net to allow us to assist you with any issues.

Ending self-isolation
If you still have a high temperature after 10 days of the start of your symptoms, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal and seek medical advice. After 10 days, if you just have a cough or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), you do not need to continue to self-isolate, this is because a cough or anosmia can last for several weeks once the infection has gone.

Legal requirements for self-isolation
You could be fined between £1,000 to £10,000 if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19, or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate because you are a contact of someone who has had a positive test result. These regulations will only apply in England.

You may find the following posters useful about turning the NHS app on/off and also what makes a contact:
COVID app instruction poster arriving
COVID app instruction poster leaving
Contact posters

COVID-19 network Resilience:

Click here to view our COVID-19 Network Resilience page