COVID-19: This week’s updates for community pharmacies (1)
COVID-19: This week’s updates for community pharmacies (1)
January 18, 2021
Latest news, information and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) for primary care teams.
1. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 12th January round-up for primary care
Yesterday we published a letter setting out clear instructions on offering second dose vaccinations to ensure maximum optimisation of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. We need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, including our frontline health and care workforce, therefore all vaccination sites must with immediate effect, ensure all second dose appointments that have not already been rescheduled must be rearranged, with recipients to be booked in for a second dose in the 12th week.
The Department of Health and Social Care also published the strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine deployment, outlining how the Government has a supply of vaccines and how it is planning to deploy them.
We know that there has been some concern about the national booking service and the letters that have gone out to patients. We have produced an updated communications pack which includes some text that you may wish to adapt for your organisation and letter templates to support in managing common queries from patients, which can be adapted for other communication channels.
We will continue to work with the media and other NHS organisations to ensure that clear communications are available to patients on how to get a vaccine. This graphic can be used which highlights the three ways patients can get their vaccine.
COVID-19 update: Supplies: For queries about vaccine supply, ordering and delivery support, and supply of consumables and PPE, contact Unipart at CS@nhsvaccinesupport.com / 0800 678 1650, open 7am to 7pm, Monday-Sunday.
COVID-19 update: IT and hardware: For queries about IT issues, including IT hardware, 4G connectivity (for equipment provided by NHSE), Pinncle, Foundry, Data and other IT services issues, contact the Covid Vaccination Help Desk on firstname.lastname@example.org / 0300 200 1000, open 6am to 10pm every day, including Bank Holidays.
For all other queries, contact your Regional Vaccination Operation Centre (RVOC) in the first instance:
- North East & Yorkshire email@example.com
- North West covid-19.MVNW@nhs.net
- Midlands firstname.lastname@example.org
- East of England email@example.com
- London firstname.lastname@example.org
- South East Programme email@example.com
- South East RVOC firstname.lastname@example.org
- South West email@example.com
They may escalate an issue to the National Covid Vaccination Operation Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org
Orders of lateral flow tests of 100 and above
To ensure that the correct quantities of lateral flow test boxes are delivered to primary care contractors, and that there are enough tests for all contractors in primary care to distribute among their patient-facing staff, any contractors who have placed an order of over 100 test boxes on the Primary Care Support England (PCSE) portal have been contacted to confirm their order by PCSE and NHSEI regional colleagues.
In this communication contractors were asked to confirm the number of patient-facing staff working in their organisation and therefore the correct number of boxes of tests they wish to receive. It is important that contractors monitor the relevant inboxes for such a communication and confirm their orders as soon as possible, to avoid any delays to deliveries.
Each organisation should order one box for each patient-facing member of staff, for example if there are 10 patient-facing members of staff delivering NHS services within an organisation, the order should be for only 10 boxes of test kits – as one box contains 25 tests and it is enough for a member of staff to test for 12 weeks. Contractors who have not yet placed their order, should log onto the portal and complete their order as soon as possible, and by COP Sunday 17 January to start to receive deliveries from the following week.
Free COVID PPE scheme extended until June 2021
As the largest vaccination programme in the UK’s history begins, the government is extending the provision of free COVID-19 PPE for all health, social care and public sector workers, until at least the end of June. This will ensure frontline and wider public service workers can continue to access rigorously tested and high-quality PPE. Primary care providers should continue to access COVID-19 PPE via DHSC PPE portal. The scheme will be reviewed in April 2021 to determine PPE provision beyond June 2021.
Map of vaccination sites
This map shows the vaccination sites that are open across the country, meaning 96% of the population is within 10 miles of a vaccine service. You can also see the hospital hubs and local vaccination services that are already up and running.
Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) statement
The PSNC have released a statement about on how the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement and the community pharmacy bodies have agreed to work together on plans to ensure that community pharmacies are used to maximum effect in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
COVID-19 testing kits available from community pharmacy pilot sites in Bradford
NHS Test and Trace, working with NHSEI and the LPC, is making Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab tests available at selected community pharmacies in Bradford through a four-week pilot which started on 4 January. The pilot aims to improve ease and access to COVID-19 testing by making test kits available at community pharmacies for eligible symptomatic individuals. It is also testing the operational feasibility of providing this service nationally. The test must be collected from the pharmacy by a representative without symptoms on behalf of a symptomatic patient. The test will be self-administered and then posted off via Royal Mail priority postbox. Click here to see pharmacies taking part.
2. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 14th January round-up for primary care
Today, community pharmacies joined the list of sites who are delivering the COVID-19 vaccine. Boots, Superdrug and several independent pharmacies will be the first of hundreds of community pharmacies to offer vaccinations protecting against COVID-19. Around 200 community pharmacy sites are due to come online by the end of the month as more vaccine supplies come on stream.
We are very grateful for all the sites working alongside vaccination centres and hospital hubs who are able to deliver the large volumes of vaccinations needed to vaccinate as many people as possible at speed. The standard operating procedure for the COVID-19 local vaccination services deployment in community settings has been updated today with the latest guidance.
Updates on vaccinations of care home staff and residents
With the increased rate and spread of infections we must prevent further COVID-19 mortality and ensure the protection of care home staff and residents. For every 20 vaccinations in this cohort, one death is prevented. Amazing progress has already been made but we need to do more. In recognition of the time and resource needed to deliver the vaccination in care homes, we are providing more financial support so we can protect these most vulnerable of patients and move swiftly on to the next cohort. This letter contains further details and an update on the next stages.
Lateral flow test orders
Organisations are reminded that where they haven’t yet done so, lateral flow kits can be ordered for patient-facing staff. One box of kits should be ordered for each member of staff. For example if there are 10 patient-facing members of staff delivering NHS services within an organisation, the order should be for only 10 boxes of test kits – as one box contains 25 tests and it is enough for a member of staff to test for 12 weeks. To place an order, contractors should log onto the portal and complete their order as soon as possible, and by COP Sunday 17 January to start to receive deliveries from the following week.
Deliveries are scheduled to be completed by 19 January for all organisations which placed an order before the initial deadline of 30 December. We will look to arrange deliveries for all subsequent orders as soon as possible after they have been placed.
A reminder that reporting results (positive, negative or void) is a statutory requirement. Staff should report the results of their tests as soon as possible on the NHS Digital platform.
Posted in: COVID-19