Healthcare providers have a vital role to play in communicating key messages to the public about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Display materials for community pharmacies
Main PHE COVID-19 posters – last updated 29th May 2020
Please note, this messaging may change over the coming days and weeks, so we would advise you to use the following NHS resources rather than you producing your own or buying commercial resources.
Public Health England (PHE) updated the set of Coronavirus (COVID-19) posters for use in pharmacies on 29th May 2020. These include an updated poster to advise on maintaining a 2m distance from others, a poster that should be displayed so it is visible to people seeking to enter the premises, and a poster pharmacies can use if they are working behind closed doors for part of the day:
These can all be downloaded from the PHE campaign resources hub. Any previously issued posters should be removed from display and be replaced by the above posters.
The PHE campaign resources hub also has additional posters in the coronavirus campaigns section that can be used to highlight the latest Government messaging (staying alert to symptoms and staying alert to the risk of infection) and the new NHS Test and Trace programme. Contractors may wish to use these to promote awareness of the wider COVID-19 response.
Face covering public communications
In order to help reinforce the requirement to wear face coverings in shops with the public, new posters and social media statics have been added to Public Health England’s Campaign Resource Centre. We are also aware of a poster created by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
A new face coverings exemptions toolkit aims to help those who are exempt from wearing face coverings to make their exemption known to others, whilst digital out of home assets spread the mandatory face coverings in shops message to a wider audience.
Digital resources for pharmacies
Public-facing digital resources (including a rotating Gif) are available for pharmacies to use on social media and in-pharmacy screens.
The assets are intended to help reinforce the following messages to the public:
- Don’t enter your local pharmacy if you or anyone you live with has coronavirus symptoms;
- There’s no need to order extra medicines; and
- Pharmacies are having to make changes to allow them to stay open during the pandemic.
Pharmacy teams are encouraged to download and use these resources, where possible, to give a consistent message to the community.
NHSE&I has also updated a number of pharmacy-related NHS website pages to reflect feedback from community pharmacy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Information for patients
For information about COVID-19, or if someone thinks they might have it, they can visit nhs.uk/coronavirus
To get medical help, you are advised to visit NHS 111 online via 111.nhs.uk if possible, rather than phoning.
Public information about the Government response to COVID-19 is available from gov.uk/coronavirus
Health Education England has collated other information resources for patients on their library website.
Other information that might be of use to the public at this time
EPS pharmacy nominations via NHS App: The NHS App now has a new feature that allows patients to view and change their EPS pharmacy nomination. Having a pharmacy nomination in EPS removes the need for patients to collect FP10s from GP practices and drop them off at a pharmacy, supporting the public to observe social distancing.
Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a press release to clarify that neither product is licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Similarly the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has recently stated that it “does not currently endorse the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 given the very limited robust data on efficacy and safety.”
Advice for smokers and vapers: Public Health England (PHE) has released advice for smokers and vapers that could be used by healthcare professionals to encourage patients to quit smoking in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Based on mixed and developing evidence, PHE released the advice which could be used as part of Very Brief Advice (VBA) approaches to support patients.
Supporting carers during the COVID-19 pandemic
The Carers Trust has reported that some carers have had difficulty coping with some of the changes pharmacies have had to make during the COVID-19 pandemic – including queuing outside the pharmacy as a result of social distancing measures and difficulty in accessing and arranging medicines delivery slots. Some young carers have also reported being turned away from pharmacies.
Pharmacy teams will already be providing support and information to assist carers and making necessary adjustments to support carers and the cared for when they enter the pharmacy. But in addition, the Carers Trust – in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and PSNC – are asking pharmacy teams to consider the following actions to support carers in the community:
- Allowing 2 people into the premises when the carer has no choice but to take the person being cared for to the pharmacy with them;
- Consider prioritising carers of vulnerable / shielding people for medicine delivery slots; and
- Review the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s guidance on ‘Children collecting medicines from a pharmacy‘ and recognise that, for some families, young carers are the only people able to collect medicines in the household.
A guide has also been published to support unpaid carers to make the most out of their pharmacy team. It sets out helpful hints and tips for carers including:
- Ordering prescriptions at least seven days before they are needed;
- Only ordering as much medicine as needed;
- Checking dispensing hours before visiting a pharmacy;
- Asking family, friends or a local action group to help if you’re unable to collect a prescription;
- Making an emergency plan in case you become unwell and cannot collect medication; and
- Making sure you know the full name, address and date of birth for anyone you’re collecting a prescription for and bringing ID with you.
Public health advice posters
The following public health advice posters are also available from the PHE campaign resources website:
Signposting patients to clinical C-19 studies
Community pharmacists and their teams are being encouraged to support the nation’s fight against COVID-19 by signposting patients with suspected or even confirmed SARS-COV-2 infection to the PRINCIPLE trial.
The PRINCIPLE trial platform is a UK-wide priority trial to find treatments for COVID-19 and the only one based in primary care.
It is designed to test a range of treatments in the community, with treatment arms that can be stopped, replaced or added. Currently it is evaluating usual care alone versus usual care plus azithromycin; or usual care plus doxycycline.
The trial is being run by the University of Oxford and is funded by UK Research and Innovation and the Department for Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research.
Eligible patients are people with symptoms of COVID-like-illness who are:
- aged 50 and over and have a comorbidity; or
- who are aged 65 and over, with or without comorbidity.
They can be signposted to https://www.principletrial.org to register for the trial.
Pharmacies can support the recruitment of patients by signposting eligible patients to the trial website and by displaying a poster to highlight the potential for people to participate. Pharmacies can request promotional materials for the trial by completing a short Google form.