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

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

July 6, 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: 26th June round-up for primary care

As employers, we each have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of our staff. Completing risk assessments for at-risk members of staff is a vital component of this. Thank you to all those who have completed risk assessments and continue to provide support for your at-risk staff during this challenging period. All employers need to make significant progress in deploying risk assessments within the next two weeks and complete them – at least for all staff in at-risk groups – within four weeks.

All primary care organisations remain legally responsible for securing appropriate occupational health (OH) assessments (including staff risk assessments) for their employees.

We have published a letter with further information about risk assessments for at-risk staff groups.

An update on social distancing guidelines
You will have seen the Government’s announcement of the change in the guidance on social distancing. From 4 July, the guidance will change from ‘Stay 2 metres apart’ to ‘Where it is possible to keep 2 metres apart people should’. It advises people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’, meaning they should remain at a minimum one metre apart, while also taking physical steps to reduce the risk of transmission.

Across the NHS, staff have been working hard to restore those services that had to be paused to deal with the first COVID-19 peak, and you have been doing this within social distancing guidelines and following infection control procedures to protect patients and staff.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is working urgently to consider the implications of the change of Government guidance on the service. If any change in the guidance for health services is agreed, based on clinical advice, new guidance will be issued. Our priority will be to enable those running services to see as many patients as possible, while keeping staff and patients safe.

In the meantime, it is essential that those running and planning services maintain social distancing at 2 metres and, even if any new guidance is communicated, continue to social distance at 2 metres wherever possible. As Chris Whitty, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer said: “the advice to stay at 2m when you can stay at 2m remains”.

Shielding letters for the NHS and patients
As announced on Monday, millions of people who have been shielding from COVID-19 will soon be advised of the plans to ease guidance. The Government shielding support package will remain in place until the end of July. Letters for both the NHS and patients have been added to our website.

RCGP Learning have also updated their guidance around shielding.

COVID-19: 30th June round-up for primary care

Clinical guidance for healthcare professionals on maintaining immunisation programmes during COVID-19
NHS England and NHS Improvement, together with Public Health England, has published clinical guidance for healthcare professionals on maintaining our NHS immunisation programmes during COVID-19.

It underlines that the routine immunisation programme must be maintained, and gives advice on how to approach some of the specific challenges practices may face in doing this. It also includes a series of FAQs that can be used in communication with the public. The production of the guidance has been supported by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

Home delivery of medicines and appliances service during the COVID-19 outbreak
The NHS Home Delivery Service will be commissioned from both community pharmacies and dispensing doctors from 2 July until 31 July 2020, to ensure access to prescription medicines for shielded patients during the phased easing of restrictions announced by the Government on 22 June.

The provision of this service throughout July will enable patients who are shielding, time to make alternative arrangements for access to their prescription medications, after which the COVID-19 home delivery services will cease to be commissioned. Formal notification will be sent shortly with further information.

Shielding update: letter to patients
Translations and accessible formats of the Government’s letter sent to patients who are shielding are now available.

2. 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 operational pressures on independent pharmacies – June 2020 survey
  • EPS now at 85% usage
  • Epipen availability – US labelled stock approved for UK
  • Extensions made to COVID-19 provisions in Drug Tariff updates for July including:
    • Pandemic Delivery Service
    • Flexible provision of services – opening hours or temporary closures
    • Terms of service – HLP requirement delay
  • Flu vaccination service – providing in a safe way
  • GPhC & CMA letter on pandemic pricing
  • Latest FAQs
  • NHS Health Check – Restart preparation webinar
  • NHS Test & Trace – new guidance for contractors
  • Pharmacy Advice Audit – did you complete; deadline 10th July to capture data
  • PSNC monthly communications including:
    • PSNC CEO Blog
    • PSNC CPN magazine
  • PSNC secures £20m cash injection ahead of further funding negotiations

PSNC COVID-19 daily updates:


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