Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service during the COVID-19 outbreak

Delivery to specified, eligible patients who, due to their medical condition, should not present in the pharmacy and where no other person is able to collect the item from the pharmacy and deliver it to them


Update: November 2020 – Service recommissioned from 5th November until 3rd December 2020

Over recent weeks there has been a sustained increase in community transmission of COVID-19 in England. The Government has announced new national restrictions in response to increasing transmission of COVID-19 for England for the period 5th November to 2nd December 2020.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be advised by the Government not to go to a pharmacy. The Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service and the Dispensing Doctor Home Delivery Service will be commissioned in accordance with the Home delivery of medicines and appliances during the COVID-19 outbreak: service specifications and guidance for all patients on the Shielded Patient List in England from 5th November until 3rd December 2020.

Further details are available in the following two publications:

Update: June 2020 – Service extended to 31st July 2020

  1. The service agreement was extended to 31st July, after which it will cease to operate.
  2. The service agreement was further extended until 7th September in local outbreak areas only …this included Leicester City
  3. Due to the ongoing local COVID-19 outbreaks in various areas across England, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has decided that the pandemic delivery service requirements should continue to apply from 8th September 2020 until the dates detailed below, but only for shielded patients who live in the following local outbreak areas:
    • 9 wards within South and West Blackburn, Darwen and rural areas until 21st September 2020
    • 8 wards within North East Blackburn until 23rd September 2020
    • Leicester City until 23rd September 2020, in the following postcodes: Leicester City postcodes

Further information can be found on the following PSNC website news article:


While patients meeting the COVID-19 shielding criteria1 need to stay at home and away from community pharmacy and dispensing doctor premises, they must be offered a home delivery option for their prescription items unless a family member, friend, relative or volunteer can collect the medicine for them.

The National Health Service (Amendments Relating to the Provision of Primacy Care Services During a pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020 came into effect on 27th March 2020 and provide for such an announcement.

Medicines delivery services will be commissioned from both pharmacies and dispensing doctors across England from 9th April 2020 until 1st July 2020 in the first instance but may be extended as necessary as part of the COVID-19 response. *

Essential Service

For community pharmacies, there is a change to essential services that places a responsibility on pharmacy contractors to make sure that a home delivery option is available to people at high risk of complications from COVID-19 who are advised to isolate at home for 12 weeks and meet the ‘shielding’ criteria. This option has to be offered if their prescription items cannot be collected and delivered by a family member, friend, carer or volunteer. These patients are flagged as being in this group on the web version of their Summary Care Record.

A monthly payment will be made for the period this service is commissioned recognising the administration required in assessing eligibility of patients, supporting the alternative of using volunteers to deliver prescription items and associated processing and advice. As Distance Selling Pharmacies are already contractually required to deliver medicines they have dispensed, they will not be eligible to receive the payment associated with provision of this essential service. This and further details are outlined in the Essential Service Guidance (see below)

Advanced service

This is being commissioned to pay a ‘per delivery fee’ where the patient cannot make their own arrangements for the prescription items to be collected and no suitable volunteer can be found, and the pharmacy therefore themselves delivers medicines to the patient. If a pharmacy does not wish to take part in the advanced service, as part of their essential services they may work with another pharmacy to deliver medicines on their behalf, or they must find another pharmacy who will dispense and deliver the medicine. As Distance Selling Pharmacies are already contractually required to deliver medicines they have dispensed, they will not be eligible to provide this Advanced Service.

Please note reference to the ‘Essential Service’ guidance provided above regarding use of NHS Volunteer Responders where there is no family, friend, neighbour or carer available to act upon the ‘shielded1‘ persons behalf before providing the ‘Advanced service’

The following resources have also been produced for easy tracking of deliveries made suing this new service:

1 persons-from-COVID-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from- COVID-19

PSNC information

Full information and guidance on the new service is also available on the following PSNC website news article: