NHS Test and Trace: implications for community pharmacy

NHS Test and Trace: implications for community pharmacy

May 28, 2020

Yesterday evening the Government announced that the NHS Test and Trace programme would commence at 9am this morning. The announcement was followed by the publication of information on how the programme will operate.

From today, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. The new guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.

At this time, the guidance issued by Government does not provide any information on whether there are different rules for healthcare workers, including community pharmacy team members; yesterday evening, PSNC sought further information on this from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I). If further information is received from DHSC and NHSE&I, we will share this with pharmacy contractors and their teams via this website.

Commenting on the Government announcement, Alastair Buxton, PSNC Director of NHS Services, said:

“The NHS Test and Trace programme will be an important part of the nation’s efforts to tackle the ongoing spread of COVID-19, but greater clarity needs to be provided by Government on how the requirements for self-isolation apply to healthcare workers. Where a pharmacy team member tests positive, the implications of this new approach could be the need for all their colleagues to self-isolate for fourteen days, with the subsequent immediate, temporary closure of the pharmacy. For this reason, we have sought urgent clarification on the application of the requirements from DHSC and NHSE&I.”

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