COVID Boosters: Urgent discussions on pharmacy pressures continue
Urgent discussions between PSNC and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) on how to ease the current pressures on pharmacies are ongoing, following the Prime Minister’s announcement of an urgent upscaling of the COVID-19 booster campaign.
Last week PSNC advised contractors that it was seeking additional support to ease the pressure on all contractors, including those offering COVID-19 vaccinations.
This could include through regulatory support, the removal of administrative burdens and changes to the current Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS).
Discussions are ongoing, and we will update contractors as soon as we have further news.
Wider PSNC objectives
In talks, we are also continuing to highlight the need for pharmacies to be fully funded for the increasing levels of advice they are offering to ‘walk-in’ patients.
And we are highlighting how the commissioning of more pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination sites could help to ease pressure on primary care if future routine COVID boosters are needed.
Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC, said:
“PSNC supports the NHS ambition to ramp up the COVID vaccination programme, but we are concerned about the impact this will have on all community pharmacy teams in the coming weeks. As General Practice turns its attention to the vaccination mission, we expect increasing numbers of patients to turn to pharmacies for help, and of course vaccination centres are being asked to do as many vaccinations as they can as well.
We are having urgent discussions with the NHS on measures to help all contractors, both those offering vaccinations and those not, and hope to reach conclusions soon.
PSNC is also still of the view that many more community pharmacies could have supported the COVID vaccination programme and we are continuing to press the NHS to commission more pharmacies to do so, particularly if routine boosters are going to be needed on an ongoing process.”