COVID-19: This week’s updates for community pharmacies (1)

COVID-19: This week’s updates for community pharmacies (1)

April 5, 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: 1st April round-up for primary care

On Monday, we wrote to primary care dental contract holders about the next steps for contractual arrangements and with an important update on our approach to dental reform.

We also made the following joint statement with the British Dental Association about the work we are initiating on dental system reform:

“Today’s letter on NHS dental contract arrangements, issued jointly by Minister Jo Churchill, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the Chief Dental Officer represents an important new chapter in progressing contract reform in England.

The commitment to pursue rapid meaningful change across the next year will be particularly valued by those working in NHS dentistry. All parties have recognised the profession is seeking faster progress on contract reform. NHS England and NHS Improvement, and the British Dental Association are optimistic that the commitments given represent a new start for system reform, with DHSC having asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to lead in moving the process forward over the next 12 months and beyond.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the BDA look forward to working together immediately and at pace to take forward system reform, exploring how we can make the joint principles set out in the letter work for the profession and patients. Whilst we know that contract reform is not straightforward, we hope and expect that the six aims will offer a transparent framework to enable us to develop a reformed NHS system that provides high quality patient care and an environment where professionals can work to their full potential.

We will now begin the process of developing reform and will report back progress as soon as we can.”

COVID-19 local vaccination services deployment in community settings
This standard operating procedure, updated 26 March 2021, describes the operating model and design requirements for safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in the community.

Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service commissioned
In order to improve access to testing for asymptomatic people, identify positive cases in the community and break the chain of transmission, the Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service is being commissioned from 29 March 2021 to 30 June 2021 (inclusive).

NHS Test and Trace is making lateral flow devices (LFD) available through this service for collection from a community pharmacy. Tests will be administered away from the pharmacy. Patients who have symptoms of COVID will not be asked to attend a pharmacy.

The service will work alongside existing NHS Test and Trace COVID-19 testing routes. Community pharmacy contractors can review the service specification here with details of how to register to provide this service.

NHS Volunteer Responders can collect prescribed medications
Patients who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 can arrange for an NHS Volunteer Responder to collect their prescribed medication. Patients should register on the following number in preparation for their first medication delivery: 0808 196 3646. The NHS Volunteer Responders programme will continue until at least 31 May 2021.

Extension of temporary suspension of the need for signatures on prescriptions, dental and ophthalmic forms
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has approved an extension to an existing temporary measure in England to help limit the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) by suspending the need for patients to sign prescription, dental and ophthalmic forms. The suspension was initially for a period of 5 months up to 31 March 2021 and is now extended for a further 3 months until 30 June 2021.

This is to avoid cross contamination and help minimise the handling of paperwork when collecting medicines or receiving dental and eye care. This will, however, be kept under review and may be extended, if there continues to be a cross infection risk, or removed, as soon as it is deemed safe for patients to resume signing forms.

Autism Awareness Week
This week is Autism Awareness Week. People with autism can find certain situations difficult to navigate, so we’d like to highlight information available to help services make reasonable adjustments for those with a learning disability or autistic people, which includes resources supporting the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #AutismAwarenessWeek.

Wednesday 7 April, 1pm – 2pm
Introduction to the GP referral pathway to the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service and how to implement it

2. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 1st April special update for primary care

Ahead of the Easter bank holiday weekend, we are writing to reiterate the need for operational discipline in light of constrained supply.

We are asking all vaccination sites to action the following:

  • Review bookings for first and second doses ensuring that you maintain a rigorous focus on vaccinating cohorts 1-9.
  • Work together as a system to ensure those in the priority cohorts have access to vaccination.  It is particularly important in light of changes to the National Booking System that local partners work together to offer vaccinations for those previously routed through this system (health and social care workers and unknown, unpaid carers).
  • Further information can be found on our website
  • If, and by exception, you have vaccine at the end of a clinic which may be wasted (as short-life Oxford/AstraZeneca stock or Pfizer/BioNTech), you may bring forward Cohort 1-9 second doses (as per Green Book) as a first step.
  • However, this should be as close to 12 weeks as possible and as a minimum at least 8 weeks after the first dose as recommended by JCVI.

Many thanks for you and your teams continuing work to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Thanks to the thousands of people involved, in less than four months the health service in England has given the vital first vaccine dose to more than half the adult population.


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