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

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

April 6, 2020

Latest news, information and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) for primary care teams.

This week has seen new announcements, as well as a revisit to some previous guidance to reclarify previous advice provided. The Government enforced restriction of movement orders on social distancing and strict isolation for the identified vulnerable population looks to continue for some time longer and remains the key focus to stem of the forthcoming predicted surge in numbers of people infected.

Please read the following important updates by reading the individual numbered articles below:

1. NHS England update: Preparedness letter for community pharmacy (31st March)

NHS England has produced the third of a series of regular updates to community pharmacy regarding the emerging COVID-19 situation.

Further details of the letter can be found on the NHS website

This week’s letter includes advice on:

  • Key workers new registrations for NHS CPCS
  • NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) via NHS 111 online
  • Supply chain
  • Support to maximise use of eRD
  • Smart Cards
  • Care Home services

2. Updated guidance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

There’s been lots of news across all media about first the short supply of PPE for healthcare teams as well as when is it necessary or appropriate to wear it.

This week NHS England and Public Health England redefined their recommendations.

Below I have extracted specific points from various lengthy documents which are directly relevant to community pharmacy:

If you wish to read the full PHE document, please see below:

3. NHS Volunteer Responders: guidance for primary care professionals

An incredible 750,000 volunteers have signed up for NHS Volunteer Responders since it was launched on 24 March. This week NHSE&I have published guidance for primary care professionals to explain how the programme works and how to refer patients for support. They are encouraging NHS organisations to start using the service as fully as possible to support patients at the highest clinical risk from coronavirus.

Requests for support for individuals or organisations can be made by any health professional and from local authorities via the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal. You can also call 0808 196 3382 to refer patients. This guidance will be extended and updated regularly on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website.

Further updates for specific areas within primary care are included below as well as dates of future webinars we hope you will find useful to join.

4. New Government WhatsApp & NHS Text messages services started

a) Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

b) NHS support via text message for people with symptoms of Covid-19

Daily texts will be sent by the NHS to new patients who register their Covid-19 symptoms and contact details with the 111 online service.

5. NHS BSA presentation: eRD in response to COVID-19

The following presentation produced by NHS BSA and the AHSN network has been distributed to Primary Care providers (i.e. GPs) to provide an outline of the response needed from them to deliver increased use of eRD during the COVID-19 crisis


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