Pharmacy Collect: End of service preparations
The last day on which the Pharmacy Collect service will operate will be 31st March 2022. At this point, under the Government’s ‘Living with Covid’ strategy, free COVID-19 mass testing will end.
Since the service started in May 2021, community pharmacy contractors have distributed over 270 million tests (c. 38.5million individual packs of 7 tests). This has supported the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to reach local communities and some of the country’s most disadvantaged citizens as part of the response to the pandemic.
The UKHSA have advised PSNC that they have seen a continued decline in demand for tests kits across all channels and anticipate the same decrease over the last few weeks of the service. PSNC, the UKHSA and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have been working together on the final plans for the end of the service. As a result of this work and in preparation for the service end, the UKHSA has provided a checklist for contractors to use as a guide to support the closure of the service.
Download a copy of the checklist (MS Word)
Contractors are also advised to consider the following matters:
Final deliveries of test kits
Alliance Healthcare’s last delivery of tests from the UKHSA warehouse will be on 18th March 2022. Pharmacies will be able to order test kits for a short period of time after that date and Alliance Healthcare will continue to deliver test kits to pharmacies up until Friday 25th of March 2022, but stock availability cannot be guaranteed.
The UKHSA have advised that they need to ensure that tests continue to be evenly distributed to meet local demand and, just as importantly, that the amount of distributed stock after the service closes is minimised.
Running down stock
Following the amendment of the Secretary of State Directions for the service on 15th March 2022, the legal basis for provision of test kits to members of the public ends on 31st of March 2022. After this date, contractors will not legally be able to distribute free NHS test kits to citizens and will therefore, not be paid for any further distribution of test kits after that point.
There will be no process in place for collecting unused kits from pharmacies at the end of the service and the UKHSA are discouraging the destruction of test kits. Contractors are therefore advised, to manage any remaining stock being held. To assist with this and following discussions with PSNC, the UKHSA and NHSE&I have advised, that pharmacy teams can use their knowledge of their local communities to proactively distribute test kits to certain members of their local community. This may include people who are NHS staff, carers, clinically vulnerable, digitally excluded or anyone else who in the professional opinion of the pharmacist, would benefit from having a test kit. PSNC would encourage pharmacies to distribute all their remaining stock before the end of the service. As part of this proactive approach, any test kits provided to citizens without a collection code should be claimed for as anonymous supplies.
Final payment claims
Contractors have up to 30th of April 2022 to submit any claims for payment via the Manage Your Service (MYS) platform for kits distributed up to 31st March 2022. This includes any distributions made in February 2022 that contractors may have been unable to claim at the beginning of March 2022.
The UKHSA have supplied materials for contractors to use to highlight to citizens when the pharmacy has run out of stock and will no longer be offering the service. The materials are available from the campaign resource centre and can also be downloaded via the below links.
Stock out poster (PDF)
Social media content (JPG)
The service was set up at pace to meet the needs of the population in England during the pandemic. The UKHSA is keen that they reflect on the service and consider what they would do differently should they need to stand up a similar service in the future. This information will then be used to set out any future service models. These models will be stored as a ‘service in a box’ that the UKHSA could use again quickly, if needed, to bring back to PSNC for negotiation.
To support this, contractors and their teams are encouraged to complete a short survey, which provides an opportunity to tell the UKHSA about any ideas or thoughts that contractors and their teams have on how they would improve the service.
The survey provides an opportunity for contractors and their teams to provide feedback directly to the UKHSA and to influence the model of any future service. The survey will be open until 28th March 2022.
If contractors have any questions or queries about the survey, or any other aspects of the service, then please contact the Pharmacy Collect Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.