COVID-19 Hub page


It is important that you keep up to date with the rapidly changing environment at this time. Public Health England, the Department of Health and PSNC have developed a range of resources to support community pharmacy and the wider health care system that the whole pharmacy team should be aware of.

Check you pharmacy NHS shared mailbox daily as this is the main conduit for communications from the LPC and NHS England.

Please ask the LPC for support when needed and report immediately any changes to period of treatment on prescriptions, or any incidents, especially where pharmacy teams may be being put at unnecessary risk.

We  are also keen to hear from our pharmacy teams ‘Good News’ stories which we can share on social media and in press releases. If you have an excellent example please email  David with your story.


Early May Bank Holiday opening of pharmacies – Opening arrangements & claims process

As previously advised all pharmacies are required to open for 3 hours, between 2pm and 5pm on Friday 8th May 2020 (the early May Bank holiday) as part of the NHS pandemic response.

• Please make sure you update your DOS and NHS.UK entries. NHSE&I have written to you via the shared mailbox with this request. There is no central adjustment of DOS this time, contractors must update their own profile.

• Please do this before the end of the day on Wednesday 6th May using the DoS Profile Updater. NHSE&I will receive a download on Thursday morning that they will use to inform stakeholders of all opening hours and this being accurate will benefit you.

• You can view a copy of NHS Digital Profile Updater User Guide HERE

• If you have any operational issues with realigning your opening to the new 2pm to 5pm direction, or you feel an alternative 3 hour slot would better suit local demand for pharmaceutical services please contact the local area team as soon as possible with as much detail as you can supply.

• If you experience a last minute change, for example, due to staff illness, meaning you cannot open, you will need to use the DoS emergency change number instead: 0300 0200 363 (as well as notifying NHSE&I).

• Fee will be £250 per hour for a maximum of 3 hours. This will be claimable by MYS.


Dealing with Returned Medicines

PSNC has worked with the National Pharmacy Association, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group to produce joint guidance on dealing with unwanted medicines that have been returned to community pharmacies in England.

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.

This guidance has been compiled to help contractors determine how best to safely handle returned unwanted medicines at this time. It contains a list of considerations and a suggested procedure, as well as checklists to work through.

Guidance on dealing with patient-returned / unwanted medicines
Checklists on dealing with patient-returned / unwanted medicines


National Delivery Service Launched
In a letter published on Friday 10th April NHSE&I launched the Community Pharmacy Pandemic Delivery Service and associated changes to the Terms of Service for shielded patients.
The service consists of two parts: one essential service and one advanced service.
Full details can be found on the PSNC website.


Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Delivery Service for shielded patients

As part of the national delivery service essential service, all pharmacies must ensure shielded patients can access medication. This can be through a relative or neighbour collecting medication on the patient’s behalf, through local or national volunteers, or through the pharmacy pandemic delivery service. The local councils in Merseyside have enlisted the help of the local fire and rescue service and police force to deliver medications to those patients in need.

The patient needs to contact the council’s Support Line on 0151 233 3066, and they will arrange for the patient’s medication to be delivered by the emergency services. For assurance, the protocol on how this will be conducted is available on our website.

To access the delivering prescriptions protocol for Merseyside, please click here.


Police Advice Checklist
In these difficult times with COVID 19, pharmacies as you already know are under pressure to supply medicines and services to patients. Whilst keeping themselves safe in order to continue to provide essential services and support to the public.
During the past weeks the Police in the UK are aware of telephone calls to pharmacies from persons claiming to be from the Police. Those persons requested information regarding stocks of medicines, storage, security measures and vulnerability. The Police have now established several of the calls made were in fact genuine and had good intent, but a number of others were in fact false.
In an effort to combat these attempts to elicit vital information and to prevent crime the Police have issued guidance that will assist and deal with such calls. More details can be found by clicking on the link: Police Advice Check Sheet for Pharmac


VirtualOutcomes

Community Pharmacy is facing one of the biggest challenges it has ever had and to support you and your team VirtualOutcomes have put together the key messages that you and team require to ensure you can deliver care to all your patients.

Down the course flyer here.


Key Resources
The key resources can be accessed here and we will continue to signpost to them as a primary resource:

Updated: NHSE&I – Read the latest letter to community pharmacy from Keith Ridge here (Last updated 10.4.20)

Pharmacy Pandemic Delivery Service Letter & PSNC Pandemic Delivery Service Guidance
Safe Handling of Controlled Drugs Letter
Community pharmacy letter to support health and justice services
PSNC Network Resilience Page
SOP for community pharmacy this includes information regarding closed door policies and temporary closures
Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Key worker Guidance for schools and a template letter for staff to use can be downloaded here
PSNC’s COVID-19 page which collates all of the current information and resources for community pharmacy contractors and their teams in a single place
PHE – Access PHE resources here
GOV.UK – For the latest government advice for health professionals
GPHC – The latest news, including support and regulatory support can be accessed here
RPS – For news and support visit the RPS website
See the latest update regarding PPE from PSNC

Keep an eye on your NHSmail shared mailbox on a regular basis for updates from the NHS E&I local area team leads.

EPS pharmacy nominations via NHS App
The NHS App now has a new feature that allows patients to view and change their EPS pharmacy nomination. Being able to update nominations in the NHS App means patients can more easily choose the pharmacy that is right for them during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The NHS App team at NHS Digital have been working on this development for some time, but its release has been prioritised to help patients and primary care teams better cope with ordering and obtaining prescriptions during the pandemic.
Having a pharmacy nomination in EPS removes the need for patients to collect FP10s from GP practices and drop them off at a pharmacy, supporting the public to observe social distancing. It is also intended to help reduce the nomination-setting burden on pharmacy teams and GP practices during this busy time. To nominate a distance selling pharmacy (DSPs), patients must register with the pharmacy through their website or contact them directly; this is because DSPs normally need to collect additional information on patients that are nominating their pharmacy beyond simple demographic data, so they are able to provide an appropriate service when the first nominated script arrives for the patient.
Learn more about the nominated pharmacy feature here.


What is your LPC doing?
Working with LPCs across the region to ensure maximum support to contractors
Ensuring you are provided with the most up to date information
Updating the LPC business continuity plans to ensure you are fully supported over the coming months
Raising concerns with PSNC, NHSE and other relevant bodies
Liaising with local health providers (CCGs, Local Authority’s, Drug Service’s, Area Team) to ensure community pharmacy is considered in local planning arrangements and to allow us to feedback concerns.


Availability and use of PPE
The LPC has received a number of queries regarding the use and availability of PPE.
The latest available information is available on the PSNC website.

Smartcards
If it is likely that you will be required to work at different pharmacies over the coming months please ensure you have the correct permissions on your smartcard – either additional pharmacies, or the FFFFF (locum) code.
To amend your smartcard click here.

Serious Shortages Protocols
We recommend that you review the process for processing SSPs in your pharmacy.
There are further details on the PSNC website which includes an on-demand webinar.