Extensions made to COVID-19 provisions


Extensions made to COVID-19 provisions

June 30, 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced the extension of certain services and provisions introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic through a number of Drug Tariff updates for July 2020. We have summarised the updates below.

Pandemic Delivery Service

As PSNC reported on 22nd June 2020, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the Government’s plans to ease guidance for the 2.2 million people who have been shielding since the start of the pandemic.

The Government shielding support package, including the pandemic delivery service (the Terms of Service requirements and the Advanced service), will remain in place until 31st July 2020, with no changes to the requirements.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have now published (1st July 2020) a letter to pharmacy contractors to formally extend the provisions.

Read the NHSE&I letter

Read the guidance and Advanced Service specification

Contractors must submit their claims for payment for the Advanced service via the MYS platform by 5th August 2020. Payment for the Essential service will be made automatically for July.

Flexible provision of services

On 27th March 2020, the Pharmaceutical Services (Advanced and Enhanced Services and Emergency Declaration) Directions 2020 declared an emergency requiring the flexible provision of pharmaceutical services. During this period, pharmacies can make temporary changes to opening hours or temporary closures at short notice where there are adequate reasons. This will now be extended to 1st September 2020.

Further information about the emergency regulations is available on our network resilience page.

And finally…

Contractors will recall that several changes to the Terms of Service were planned to commence in July 2020, including the requirement for all community pharmacies to be Healthy Living Pharmacies.

The regulations required to enact these changes have not been laid due to the priority for the Government of focusing on the COVID-19 response.

PSNC is discussing with DHSC and NHSE&I when the best time would be for these requirements to commence. It is likely that many will be introduced at some point in the autumn, but we will confirm the exact date once this is agreed.

We are also considering the point at which the other service developments planned for 2020/21 could commence, such as the Discharge Medicines Service. This has implications for the targeting requirements for the Medicines Use Review (MUR) Service, as the target group for patients who have recently been discharged from hospital is due to be removed at the point the DMS is launched.

The targeting requirements for MURs in 2020 have therefore been amended today to retain the current targeting requirements (70% of MURs must be for patients taking high-risk medicines or those recently discharged from hospital) until 31st December 2020.

Other amendments in preparation for the phasing out of MURs – such as a maximum of 100 MURs payable per pharmacy for 2020/21 and removing MUR accreditation as a prerequisite for providing the New Medicine Service (NMS) – have been implemented.

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