Regs explainer (#7): Pandemic Treatment Protocols


Regs explainer (#7): Pandemic Treatment Protocols

November 5, 2020

On 20th October 2020 new NHS regulations were laid to introduce changes to the Terms of Service for pharmacy contractors. Some of these changes relate to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but most are changes which were previously agreed as part of the 5-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) and were originally planned to be introduced in July 2020.

This article is one of a series, explaining what the changes mean for pharmacy contractors and their teams.

This change applies from:

9th November 2020

What are the new requirements?

Contractors must supply a Prescription Only Medicine (POM) to a person in accordance with a Pandemic Treatment Protocol (PTP), if and when one is issued, subject to the requirements of the PTP.


During a pandemic disease, or in anticipation of a pandemic, Ministers may give approval for pharmacies to supply a POM without a prescription, for the prevention or treatment of the disease, in accordance with section 247 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMR).

The PTP is a protocol for pharmacies to make such supplies as part of the Essential Dispensing service.

Supply in accordance with a PTP

Subject to the requirements of the PTP, where…

(a)   the contractor receives, via a secure service approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement, an electronic message that amounts to an order for the supply of a medicine in accordance with a PTP; and,

(b)   the person who is entitled to be supplied with that medicine in accordance with that order, requests the medicine from the pharmacy,

…a pharmacy contractor must supply the medicine to the person, or that person’s representative, with reasonable promptness.

Additional requirements of PTPs

Certain record keeping requirements apply and will be contained in the PTP/Ministers approval under section 247 of the HMR. This information is likely to be necessary for contractors to claim a fee and any reimbursement for a supply.

There are additional requirements associated with a supply, primarily certain parts of the Terms of Service.

There may be other additional requirements contained in a PTP.

The arrangements for an assessment of a person’s need for the medicine (who assesses and how) will be specified in relation to each PTP.

A PTP may not be used for a supply of a Schedule 2, 3, or part 4(1) Controlled Drugs.

Where can I get more support on this?

Further information on PTPs can be found on our Pandemic Treatment Protocol page and specific PSNC guidance will be provided on each PTP issued.


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