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

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

November 30, 2020

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

1. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 24th November round-up for primary care

COVID-19 vaccination sites 
Thank you to all the PCNs who nominated a site to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the forthcoming NHS programme. We have had a fantastic response from general practice. We know general practice is already busy and we are hugely grateful for your commitment to ensuring your patients are vaccinated as soon as possible. We are writing out to all the sites who came forward with next steps. We will be holding a webinar on Thursday 26 November at 5pm where we will share further information about the programme.

With the important work taking place around the national COVID-19 vaccination programme, Dr Nikki Kanani and Ed Waller will be working full-time in this area to ensure the workforce is prepared to assume their key role. We will be taking over the bulletin for the time being and continue to keep you up to date on all things primary care.

COVID-19 vaccination programme FAQs updated
A reminder that we have a dedicated space on our FutureNHS web platform for the national rollout of the vaccination programme. Log in or sign up to find key documents, a discussion forum and upcoming and previous webinars.

We’ve now added some useful FAQs to the space, with the most up to date answers to common questions around eligible cohorts, appointment bookings, preparation for the vaccinations and more.

National post-COVID recovery guidance
Two guidance documents were published earlier this month to assist local healthcare systems to establish their post-COVID recovery services. National guidance for post-COVID assessment clinics and Your COVID Recovery guidance (for the online rehabilitation platform) are available on the NHS England website. The clinics and Your COVID Recovery are two elements of the NHS five-part package of support for patients experiencing long-term health effects following COVID-19 infection.

For more information on post-COVID rehabilitation and recovery, please email

Updated advice for people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
With the current national restrictions expected to change from 3 December, we understand that the Government will also update the associated advice for people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. We expect the Government to again write to people on the Shielded Patient List (SPL) to advise them of the change of guidance. Where a patient’s email address is recorded in their GP records, they will receive this letter electronically as soon as it is available. This could be as early as Wednesday 25 November. Patients receiving an email copy will still receive a hard copy by post in the following days. When adding individuals to the SPL, please check that patient contact details, including email addresses, are up to date. We will include further information in a subsequent bulletin when available.

Updated DHSC guidance on accessing government-secured flu vaccines
Further to Friday’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announcement about the extension of the flu vaccination programme to 50 to 64 year olds from 1 December, DHSC has issued updated guidance to general practices and community pharmacies on accessing additional centrally supplied vaccines.


2. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 27th November round-up for primary care

Local restriction tiers: Updated advice for people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
From Wednesday 2 December, the government will replace the current national restrictions with a regionally differentiated approach, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country.  The government has provided specific guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people at each local tier. The government is planning to communicate this updated guidance with all c.2.3m people on the Shielded Patient List (SPL) via letter. We expect this letter to be published on Saturday 28 November on the GOV.UK website. Letters may start arriving with patients from Saturday 28 November, and throughout all of next week (w/c 30 November). People for whom the NHS holds an email address will also receive an email copy of the letter on Monday 30 November.  We know this communication may generate queries to general practices. Thank you for continuing to support those at highest risk from COVID-19 at this time.

New GP referral pathway to NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service for minor illness available across England
GP practices across England can now refer patients with minor illness symptoms, for a same day consultation with a community pharmacist, using a new referral pathway to the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS).

This greater use of pharmacists’ expertise will enable patients to be seen quickly and at a time convenient to them, increasing capacity within general practice for the treatment of patients with higher acuity needs. The pathway has been introduced following successful pilots around the country, which shows it be very popular with patients.

Community Pharmacy COVID 19 Test Kit Distribution Service pilot in Bradford
NHS England and Improvement are working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire (CPWY) on the NHS Community Pharmacy COVID 19 Test Kit Distribution Service pilot within the Bradford area. The aim of the service is to improve local access to testing by making test kits readily available at community pharmacies across an identified area.

The opt-in service will make COVID 19 swab testing available for collection by non symptomatic people from outside the household on behalf of those patients that are experiencing symptoms and self-isolating. A letter was sent this week to community pharmacy contractors in Bradford with further details of how the service will be available in their area during all pharmacy contracted hours between December 2020 to February 2021. If you are a pharmacy in Bradford and have any queries then please contact

Kickstart scheme to recruit young people into community pharmacy
The National Pharmacy Association is supporting the Government Kickstart Scheme which funds the direct creation of high-quality jobs for young people who are on Universal Credit and deemed to be at the highest risk of long-term unemployment. The scheme will allow community pharmacies to provide new six-month job placements for young people funded by the government. To take part in the Kickstart scheme, apply by completing the enquiry form by 30 November 2020. Information on the scheme and how a placement can benefit your pharmacy is available on the NPA website.


3. 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:

  • COVID-19 Test Kit Distribution Service Pilot
  • Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan
  • Guidance on suspension of signatures on prescription forms
  • Inquiry into COVID-19 impact on pharmacy
  • Latest COVID-19 updates for community pharmacy
  • Latest FAQs
  • MHRA medicines recall notice
  • More products added to Discount not Deducted (DND) list
  • Parliamentary Award nomination for GP CPCS pilot
  • PSNC CEO Blog
  • PSNC responds to Government spending review
  • Register now to use Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC)
  • Regulatory updates to support pandemic response
  • Reminder: Pandemic Deliver Service ends next Thursday
  • Retrospective price adjustment for Priadel tablets
  • Update on measures to address workload pressures during second wave
  • Using DHSC procured flu vac stock

PSNC COVID-19 daily updates:


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