Contractor Update: NHSE&I announcement on 8th May openings


Contractor Update: NHSE&I announcement on 8th May openings

May 1, 2020

Today (Friday 1st May), in the COVID-19 Primary Care Bulletin email, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has announced that pharmacies are required to open for 3 hours, between 2pm and 5pm, on Friday 8th May 2020 (the early May Bank Holiday), as part of the NHS response to the pandemic.

The fee to be paid to contractors for the bank holiday opening on 8th May will be the same as it was at Easter: £250 an hour for a maximum of 3 hours.

Any pharmacy that is planning to open for longer hours or has been directed locally to open at a different time, should continue to do so.

The announcement was made with the agreement of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care under the National Health Service (Amendments Relating to the Provision of Primary Care Services During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020 and is similar to the announcement made for the Easter bank holiday openings.

Once again, local flexibility is permitted if agreed with the NHSE&I regional team. The announcement states we are requiring all community pharmacies in England to open 2-5pm with exceptions or a variation to those hours, based on the likely demand and local needs, agreed in advance with the NHSE/I regional team.

Contractors should notify NHSE&I regional teams if they are unable to open. Those pharmacies already granted temporary closure do not need to open and do not need to notify NHSE&I again.

Some NHS England Regional teams have with LPC support sent a questionnaire to contractors for completion, to help make the process of agreeing opening hours with the NHSE&I regional team easier.

All contractors should make sure the Pharmacy NHS 111 Directory of Services (DoS) profiles are correct. At Easter, NHSE&I regional teams updated the DoS profiles in their area midweek before the bank holiday – it is expected that they will do the same this time. Changes after this time must be telephoned through on the emergency change number 0300 0200 363. Contractors should also make sure entries on the NHS website are correct.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“Since NHSE&I announced its intention to ask all pharmacies to open on the early May Bank Holiday, PSNC had once again been pressing for funding to cover the costs of these openings. This is alongside our ongoing negotiations about additional funding for the sector to cover the significantly increased costs of operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you would expect, we have also been speaking to officials seeking an urgent decision on the second May Bank Holiday which is now rapidly approaching. There has been a delay between NHSE&I announcing its intentions to contractors and making this formal announcement, and we hope this can be avoided next time.”

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