COVID-19 Update: NHS Testing and Complaints


COVID-19 Update: NHS Testing and Complaints

March 29, 2020

HM Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have each this weekend made announcements of significance for community pharmacy contractors: the Government announced an expanded coronavirus testing service for NHS staff, while NHSE&I confirmed a “pause” of the NHS complaints process.

Coronavirus Testing Programme

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced a new coronavirus testing programme, in collaboration with industry, for which NHS staff will be first in line.

The testing will be carried out in three new hub laboratories, with partners including Amazon, Royal Mail and Boots helping to make the tests available to NHS staff.

PSNC has confirmed with HM Government that the new testing programme will be available to community pharmacy – we will make further details available when they are provided.

The tests will be free and will allow those who test negative for coronavirus to return to work. They will be available from drive through locations, not to purchase from retail outlets.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“Healthcare staff are key in our fight against the virus and I want to ensure that any frontline NHS or care worker who has symptoms of coronavirus or who has a family member with symptoms can be tested quickly and reliably.”

Read the announcement on GOV.UK

Pausing the NHS Complaints Procedure

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NHSE&I has said that it supports a system wide “pause” of the NHS complaints process.

This will allow healthcare providers in all sectors to concentrate their efforts on their front-line duties and responsiveness to COVID-19.

NHSE&I said the initial “pause” period is recommended to be for three months with immediate effect. The pause is not being enforced for any healthcare providers who do wish to operate as normal with regard to complaints.

NHSE&I also reported that as of 26th March 2020, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has stopped accepting new NHS complaints and has stopped work on open cases.



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