Local Support and Interpretation of Guidance COVID-19:
Practical Advice on how to deal with the current crisis
We are very aware that the information coming out of national organisations is constantly changing and front-line staff will struggle to know how to apply it. The sections below will help you to find the key guidance and interpret it for your business. This section will be constantly updated as new guidance is issued.
Protecting Pharmacy Teams
Pharmacy Entry Point Signs
Please make sure you have the PHE Covornavirus poster displayed at all entry points to your pharmacy.
In the warmer months you may want to use an external display sign with the above poster in it and keep the door to your pharmacy open to allow fresh air to circulate. This will also help avoid the public making contact with the door handle on entry and exit.
Please refrain where possible from using vented heating and air-conditioning which could circulate the virus further within the building.
Follow NHS How to wash your hands guidelines, which should be carried out for 20 seconds.
Increase the frequency that all staff do so, for example you may wish to set a phone or computer alarm to remind you on an hourly basis. As the pandemic continues you may find it hard to remember to do this vital step.
Consider placing hand sanitiser if available at entry points for customer use or before signing for their script.
Increase cleaning of touching points such as door handles, counter tops, and shelving – particularly at shoulder and head height where contact is made most and where sneezes or coughs may land.
Remove large quantities of stock items from shelving to allow for swift cleaning.
Maintain social distancing
2 metres between patients where practicable (consider ‘staff at risk’ for example those that may be asthmatic, or consider limiting the number of people entering at the premises at any one time). Consider using barriers or screens in front of the counter, if available or use tape to mark distances on the floor.
To view Public Health England’s latest guidance for PPE please click HERE
Pharmacy Video on vaccinations & PPE please click HERE
PPE should also be worn during decontamination. Guidance on how to wear and remove PPE has been given. Please follow environmental cleaning guidance given and see section 4. Post-transfer actions in the Community Pharmacy SOP.
PPE should be ordered free of charge via the Portal: https://nhs-ppe.co.uk/customer/authentication
Staff testing in primary care: pharmacies, opticians and dentists
Physical & Emotional Wellbeing
Staff will be suffering from stress, anxiety and fatigue; a major risk to the wellbeing of staff and in-turn an increased risk of dispensing errors and mistakes in their work. You may find the link to emotional and psychological survival guide useful to help maintain your teams wellbeing during this time.
Mental Health and Wellbeing meeting: relevant documents
Vulnerable people – at risk staff
For a full list of people who are deemed to be at risk of getting severe symptoms from the Coronavirus please click here
It is your responsibility to assess the risk to your staff and take appropriate decisions to protect them (multiple pharmacies will be given HR support by their Head Office. If this means that staff have to self-isolate and you can no longer operate your pharmacy safely for your contracted hours, please follow the information below on reducing your hours or closing your pharmacy.
The following products and companies are not endorsed by Dorset LPC, but have been listed just for your information:
School place for children of key workers
The government has announced that all front-line healthcare staff who are unable to get their children looked after at home will have access to school places. Guidance states the following:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
- Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
- Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
- Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.
If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors, and you cannot keep your child safe at home then your children will be prioritised for education provision. This includes pharmacy staff. Please click here for PSNC guidance on what to do in your pharmacy
Reducing your services, opening hours or closing your pharmacy
Please see PSNC guidance HERE
Reporting local outbreaks of CoViD-19
NHS providers are required to accurately report any local outbreaks of CoViD-19. To support this approach we have developed an outbreak reporting process along with a reporting template for you to use.
PSNC, CCA, NPA and AIM welcome the revised SOP and the flexibility that this gives to contractors.
The changes should help to ensure that pharmacies can stay open to the public, and that staff can work safely and are not fatigued by the current high workload and pressures associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. Pharmacy contractors are encouraged to make use of the provisions to support their staff.The pharmacy organisations are working together on detailed guidance for contractors to help them to implement this new SOP.
For Dorset Pharmacy Opening Times during COVID-19 – please click HERE
Thank you again for all that you are doing.
Crime prevention advice
Changes in professional guidance for registered staff
These are unprecedented times, and all Pharmacists will have to make many professional decisions about the most appropriate course of action to take in many scenarios. Your LPC is having continual discussions with all system partners to ensure they understand the pressures and difficulties you face, and that we expect and demand that you receive backing for your actions from commissioners.
Communication is key, so please ensure you keep local surgeries and NHS England informed of significant issues, including any suspension of normal services or regarding contractual matters via firstname.lastname@example.org
Please Read-Statement issued to registered staff about using professional judgement in staff and patients’ best interest. Including options such as access to a pharmacist by phone or video link for short durations to allow continuity where all other options have been exhausted. Main point- completed prescriptions could be given out to patients in the absence of the responsible pharmacist for short periods.
The GPhC has announced that those registrants with a submission date between March and August 2020 will not be required to submit their four CPD records, one peer discussion and one reflective account on their normal submission due date. Instead, they will be required to submit their full revalidation record on their normal submission due date in 2021; i.e. with their renewal in 2021. Please note that all registrants will be expected to renew their registration as normal in 2020; the postponement only applies to the submission of revalidation records.
They will review the situation for registrants due to submit their revalidation records after 31 August 2020 at a later date and will keep registrants updated.
Medicines Delivery Service
Pandemic Delivery Service – please click HERE
What help is available?
To provide you with support in managing the increased demand for medicine deliveries, we have been working with Public Health Dorset and the Dorset and BCP Volunteer Centres to help find you volunteers who can collect medicines from your pharmacy and deliver them to patients who are self-isolating or social distancing or are unable to attend the pharmacy to collect in person. All volunteers will be registered with the Volunteer Centres and they will hold a valid DBS check. Please see links below.
Pharmacy teams should discuss accessing volunteers with their Line Manager or Owner of the pharmacy first.
Please also see National Initiative for COVID-19 volunteers HERE
You will have been sent a message on PharmOutcomes inviting you to complete information about the support you need. If you have not already done so, we would encourage you to complete and submit this information at your earliest convenience.
Before using volunteers we would recommend you refer to the guidance available on PSNC.
Please see a volunteer driver agreement for delivery of prescriptions via community pharmacies during COVID-19 HERE and a declaration for NHS medicines delivery volunteers to sign HERE that pharmacies may wish to use.
NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) have produced a poster HERE to print to display in pharmacies, to help raise awareness of how people can get support from the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.
Financial support for your business
The NPA has produce some useful summaries and links that highlight the business support that is available to community pharmacies during Covid-19
Locally Commissioned Services
Sexual Health Services
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) changes
COVID-19 is changing life for all of us. It is also making people wonder if it’s safe to date or have sex during the coronavirus pandemic. Globally, people are being asked to stop hooking up in person. Reducing physical contact with people will reduce transmission of COVID-19. However we need to strengthen our social connections through other means. Please see this advice from HIV Scotland.
In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, NHS Sexual Health Dorset have made changes to our services. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we are minimising non-essential face to face contact with healthcare staff, to protect both you and our staff.
There is no walk in service at Weymouth Hospital, Royal Bournemouth Hospital or The Junction. There is no text-in same day service at Royal Bournemouth Hospital. All of our satellite community clinics have closed. Changes may occur at short notice. Please check the website regularly.
All existing, booked, face-to-face appointments at Weymouth Hospital, The Junction and Community Clinics will be cancelled until further notice. A doctor or nurse will telephone you to assess whether you need to be seen.
All booked appointments at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, including those for the HIV service, will be conducted as telephone consultations. Please do not attend any of our services in person, unless specifically asked to do so.
Opening times are being reduced due to staff shortages. The clinic at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital will only be open from 8.00am to 5.00pm.
If you have symptoms, need advice about contraception or think you need to see someone urgently about a sexual health issue, please call 0300 303 1948. You will be contacted by a nurse or doctor to assess whether your problem can be managed through a telephone consultation, or whether you need to be seen.
Please see https://sexualhealthdorset.org/ for a statement detailing changes to the Sexual Health Dorset service in response to COVID-19.
If pharmacies receive requests for EHC, and these can be supported either via the commissioned service or by selling the product this would be very much appreciated.
Please see Public Health Dorset’s Your Health webpage on Smoking Cessation HERE
Harm Reduction Services
Please see Public Health Dorset’s Your Health webpage on HERE
NHS HEALTH CHECKS SUSPENDED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT
The Commissioner for NHS Health Checks, has written to health check pharmacies to inform them of the decision to suspend the NHS Health Checks programme for the short term.
Public Health Dorset intend to review the position in 2 months’ time and will keep you informed of local deliberations. Thank you for all you have achieved so far. Please remember to submit any claims for activity up until now at your earliest opportunity.
Shortages reporting and re-imbursement
Reporting medicine shortages
PSNC is aware that there are an an increasing number of shortages in the system and that prices are fluctuating significantly from Drug Tariff listings. They are flagging these issues daily and are in urgent talks with DOHSC about how they can protect contractors from the affects of these changes and we hope to have more information soon.
In the meantime, please report shortages to PSNC via this link
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.
We are are strongly supporting Primary Care guidance which states that prescribing intervals should not be increased during this crisis to protect the supply chain. GPs are being asked to put all eligible patients onto eRD. Please let the LPC know of GPs are not sticking to this guidance using email@example.com
Profiteering during the Coronavirus crisis
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) wants to ensure that traders do not exploit the current situation to take advantage of people.
It will consider any evidence that companies may have broken competition or consumer protection law, for example by charging excessive prices or making misleading claims about the efficacy of protective equipment. And it will take direct enforcement action in appropriate cases.
In addition, the CMA will assess whether it should advise Government to consider taking direct action to regulate prices.
Resources & Training for Pharmacy Staff
Contractors and their teams are reminded of the wide array of information, guidance and resources available on PSNC’s COVOD-19 hub.
PSNC’s COVID-19 FAQ’s page – Click HERE
Health Worker Testing – Primary Care – Click HERE
Resources for Pharmacy Staff live on e-LfH hub – Click HERE
HEE Interim Foundation Pharmacist Programme – Click HERE
Dental communication to pharmacies – Click HERE
Telephone Mental Health Carers Helpline during Cononavirus Outbreak – Click HERE
Accord Legal Services Free Wills For Key Workers Initiative – Click HERE
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
Thank you for your ongoing hard work and commitment at this time.