PSNC seeks to address workload pressures during second wave

PSNC seeks to address workload pressures during second wave

November 26, 2020

PSNC has today published an update on the action points that we have been discussing with the NHS and Government to address contractor workload and staffing pressures during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have been highlighting the many operational pressures on pharmacy businesses throughout the pandemic and in recent months we have asked for a range of measures to help community pharmacy teams to better handle them through the second wave of the pandemic.

In particular, PSNC has been seeking several regulatory dispensations which will give pharmacy teams the freedom to prioritise patient facing services and make it easier for contractors to maintain sufficient staffing levels.

Another key dispensation sought relates to the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS). PSNC requested that contractors are given more time to complete Part 2 PQS, but that this does not delay delivery of the associated funding. We know many contractors have already made good progress on meeting the quality criteria but those in areas of a higher COVID-19 prevalence have struggled. The valuable work associated with the scheme should still be completed in due course, as long as access to that vital funding is retained in the agreed timeframe.

Other key asks that PSNC believes would help all contractors are:

  • National announcements allowing pharmacy teams to work behind closed doors when needed, and to focus exclusively on vaccinations for parts of the day;
  • Regular testing of community pharmacy staff and national guidance to help tackle NHS Test and Trace issues;
  • The Pharmacy Audit and the Community Pharmacy Patient Questionnaire should be waived;
  • Suspension of routine data requests until further notice; and
  • Clarity on Christmas and New Year pharmacy provision as a matter of urgency.

Many of the action points have been in discussion for many weeks and, yet, as we saw in the first wave of COVID-19, decision-making remains slower than we would like. However, PSNC continues to press DHSC and NHSE&I to take a pragmatic approach to ensure that community pharmacy teams have the support they need.

PSNC Briefing 043/20: COVID-19 Second Wave – PSNC Negotiations Action List

Note, PSNC is also concerned that funding remains a key issue, both for COVID-19 costs already incurred and ongoing COVID-19 costs. An update on funding negotiations has been given separately.

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:

“Contractors are under a huge amount of pressure as we move through this second wave of COVID-19 – both financially and operationally. As you can see from our updated negotiations action list PSNC has been pressing for a range of measures to help pharmacies to cope with these operational pressures, alongside our two funding bids. Decision-making has been too slow: HM Government and the NHS must take action now to better support pharmacies as they continue to provide such a critical part of our primary care response to this global health crisis.”

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