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

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

October 26, 2020

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

1. REMINDER: Free PPE for Community Pharmacies – Register with the PPE Portal

An update is provided in the following LLR LPC website news article:

2. New Local COVID Alert Level Resources

An update is provided in the following LLR LPC website news article:

3. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 20th October round-up for primary care

Help with primary care network Directed Enhanced Service medicine reviews: polypharmacy comparators
The NHS BSA Polypharmacy Prescribing Comparators can help primary care networks (PCNs) with the Structured Medication and Medicines Optimisation Service Specification.

Developed by a group of GPs and pharmacists in Wessex, working with Wessex AHSN and NHS BSA analysts, the award-winning comparators help practices and PCNs prioritise which of their patients may be at greatest risk of harm from problematic polypharmacy.

The comparators show practices and PCNs how many patients they have on eight or more, 10 or more, 15 or more, and 20 or more, medicines. They also identify patients taking a combination of medicines known to increase risk of harm. Find out much more and watch a short video.

Changes to the Human Medicines Regulations
The Government response on changes to the Human Medicines Regulations to support the roll out of COVID-19 and flu vaccines has been published.

Amendments are likely to be made to the Human Medicines Regulations, which:

  • strengthen existing regulations allowing for the temporary licensing of medicines and vaccines on an exceptional basis, pending grant of a full licence;
  • extends immunity from civil liability to companies producing the vaccine;
  • allows a wider range of trained personnel to administer these vaccines;
  • enables promotion of COVID-19 vaccine and treatments as part of national campaigns and provides some short-term exemptions to the need for a wholesaler dealers license to transfer vaccines under NHS or armed services authorised arrangements.

4. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 23rd October round-up for primary care

We have made an additional £15.4m available to local systems and primary care providers to cover reasonable additional costs (over and above the usual fee structures) associated with this year’s extended flu programme. Two sets of guidance have been published on how to claim from this funding, one for NHS regional teams and community pharmacies, and one for NHS regional teams and general practices.

We have also published a frequently asked questions for the flu programme to help answer some of the questions for primary care staff, along with a quick guide for GPs and community pharmacists to help check the eligibility of people seeking to receive a free flu jab this year. Further information on ordering flu stock and resources to support the flu programme delivery can be found below.

Free COVID-19 PPE for the frontline – Register with the PPE Portal
The PPE Portal has changed from being an ‘emergency top-up’ system to being the primary source of COVID-19 PPE requirements for primary care providers (including community pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, orthodontists and GPs).

COVID-19 PPE is classed as the PPE that providers are using over and above Business-as-usual (BAU) use, due to COVID-19 infection control guidance, rather than what would have been used pre-pandemic. While such PPE requirements will vary according to settings, contexts and individual circumstances, the PPE Portal’s order limits can serve as an indicative approximation of such requirements (especially where providers may be in doubt). Eligible primary care providers in England should now order PPE through the portal, free of charge, to meet the increased need that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has partnered with the NHS and the e-commerce industry to develop this service in order to ensure that those on the frontline have what they need. The overriding priority is to protect people and our wider communities, thereby reducing infections and saving lives. We must make sure everyone has the PPE they need so please do play your part in this collective effort.

Register and access the portal using your CQC/MHRA/NHSE/NHS BSA registered email. The latest guidance on what PPE items you can order (including order limits) is also available. Call the customer service team on 0800 876 6802 if you have any questions about using the PPE portal (including registration and queries or if you think you should have been invited but have not been). The team is available from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week, to help resolve your queries.

The PPE portal will be the primary source of free COVID-19 PPE (including Flu vaccination requirements). However, if there is a severe disruption to distribution, in the first instance get in contact with your local authority or LRF. A page will shortly be published with the local authority/LRF contact details. If this route is not possible, get in contact with the NSDR.

Ordering flu stock
On 9 October, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) wrote to GP practices to confirm the process by which GPs will be able to access the additional adult flu vaccine stock secured to support the expanded vaccination programme this season. GP practices are now invited to begin ordering or pre-ordering this supply from manufacturers. The earlier guidance note set out when vaccines would be available over October, November and December. In the first instance, GP practices are invited to order or pre-order the following vaccines (please refer to Table 1 in the guidance for timescales and minimum/maximum order quantities):

  • Seqirus: Flucelvax® Tetra and Adjuvanted Trivalent Influenza Vaccine
  • Mylan: Quadrivalent Influvac® sub-unit Tetra

If a GP practice has a provisional order with Sanofi for QIVe, please contact them to confirm this, before placing another order for QIVe for this cohort.

As set out in the guidance, on placing an order, GP practices will be asked by manufacturers to verify that stock is being ordered for NHS eligible patients or frontline social care workers, where there is a genuine shortage for this cohort. Orders should only be placed where you have a shortfall in supply for existing eligible patients at this stage. Further instruction on timing of extension of eligibility to all 50 to 64 year olds will follow and stock should not be ordered for this cohort at this stage. Practices should ensure they have read the guidance thoroughly before placing an order or pre-order.

A proportion of the central stock has been pre-allocated for community pharmacies and NHS Providers. DHSC guidance for NHS Providers and for community pharmacies on how to access this stock will be cascaded shortly.

Learning disability and autism flu delivery
This short film presentation supports general practice and pharmacy teams to carry out flu vaccinations for people with a learning disability and autistic people who may be eligible for a vaccination. The film covers why it is important, who is eligible for a free vaccine, reasonable adjustments, consent and decision making. A parent of a 16-year-old with a learning disability describes how GPs and pharmacists can support families to make sure their relatives can have their vaccination.

Free flu immunisation training for primary care clinicians
For all primary care staff involved in the flu immunisation programme, Health Education England (HEE) have developed a free flu Immunisation online training resource that is available on the HEE e-Learning for Health platform. The programmes provides all healthcare practitioners involved in delivering the national flu immunisation programme with the knowledge they need to confidently promote high uptake of flu vaccination and effectively deliver the vaccine programme.

5. PSNC COVID-19 daily updates – all the latest contractual, operational and practical information

PSNC is working with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide as much support and guidance as possible to help community pharmacy teams contribute to some of the many challenges that could arise in an epidemic situation.

PSNC logo.png

PSNC are now publishing daily COVID-19 updates by email to all those that have authorised this news stream feed.

Please find below links for last week’s updates which cover the following topics:

  • Community Pharmacy access to the Government flu vaccine stock
  • Guidance about your HSCN connection
  • Latest FAQs
  • Latest updated information and guidance on NHS Test and Trace
  • Medicine Supply Notifications
  • New NHS Pharmacy Regulations laid
  • New patient comms on flu vaccination
  • News SSPs issued for Fluoxetine 30mg capsules and Salazopyrin® EN-Tabs 500mg
  • NHSE&I flu vaccination support for pharmacies
  • NHS Test and Trace: Impact on community pharmacies
  • PSNC Briefings on latest Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs)
  • Regulation changes to allow more healthcare workers to administer vaccinations
  • REMINDER: Free COVID-19 PPE ordering portal

PSNC COVID-19 daily updates:


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