As the COVID19 situation is developing daily, for the most up to date information refer to the PSNC Covid19 Hub and we would encourage
pharmacists and contractors to signup to the PSNC newsletters at the foot of the PSNC homepage.
The NHS / Dept of Health will be communicating and cascading information to pharmacies via their pharmacy NHS Email addresses.
Are you checking your inbox on a regular basis so you are aware of changes or actions required?
NHS England Coronavirus Publications/ Community Pharmacy
Your LPC team is participating in a number of COVID-19 regional conference calls to help inform PSNC and NHSE national discussions
and actions. Please email any feedback, insights or questions you would like us to share on these calls to: [email protected]
Shared below are some local and national topics to help keep you informed.
Local Restrictions - 18th September
Updated FLU PPE guidance 21st August
Updated UK-wide IPC guidance published on Friday 21st August, which includes changes to the recommended PPE required for vaccinations.
A news story summarising this has just been published on the PSNC website:
Home delivery of medicines and appliances service during the COVID-19 outbreak
The provision of this service throughout July will enable patients who are shielding, time to make alternative arrangements for access to their prescription medications, after which the COVID-19 home delivery services will cease to be commissioned. Formal notification will be sent shortly with further information.
Opening Hours - if emergency declaration is not in place from 1st July
The below detail has been issued via email by Local NHS Area team.
Thank you for your ongoing support during this period. As we move to resume full NHS services there is an expectation that normal opening hours will resume, we are aware that some pharmacies are currently operating reduced opening hours, as a result of the current COVID-19 national pandemic and declared national emergency. Currently the national pandemic and national emergency declaration is in place until 1st July 2020 and an announcement is awaited as to whether this will be extended beyond this date. The purpose of this email is to inform you that should the national emergency status not be extended beyond 1st July, Regulation 29 of Temporary arrangements during emergencies or because of circumstances beyond the control of NHS chemists – will no longer apply and community pharmacies will be required to return to operating their full contractual opening hours.
Where you are currently operating reduced opening hours, please can you confirm in writing your plans to return to operating your full contractual opening hours, should the national emergency not be extended beyond 1st July, including updating of all published opening hours information such as your NHS website profile and your 111 DoS profile.
Please also be aware that the national NHS England and NHS Improvement team are currently reviewing the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure for Community Pharmacy and we understand that an updated copy will be published shortly, the requirements of which will need to be met by all community pharmacies.
Pharmacy and Optometry Team
Risk assessments for at-risk staff groups
NHS issued a letter 24th June 2020 emphasizing the need for employers to complete risk assessments.
"Dear colleague Risk assessments for at-risk staff groups As employers, we each have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of our own staff. Completing risk assessments for at-risk members of staff is a vital component of this. "
PSNC advice on use of facemasks and face coverings in community pharmacy - PSNC update 15th June
Facemasks and face coverings
Since the start of the outbreak, community pharmacy contractors have been taking steps to ensure their pharmacies are COVID-secure for patients, the public and staff, and have been adopting a variety of measures including, as appropriate, the use of facemasks.
Minimising nosocomial infections in the NHS Letter 090620 - Track and Trace
Accessing Dental Care from 8th June
NHS mail correspondence with care homes
The response has been extremely positive with over 63% of providers being supported to gain access to NHS mail in the Region so far.
There are multiple benefits for the use of NHS Mail in care homes, in particular regarding the safe, secure transmission of information across healthcare services including care homes, community pharmacies, GP practices and other supporting services.
Further work is ongoing to maximise on the use of NHS mail across the healthcare landscape, in particular the Regional workstream is considering how the use of on-line proxy ordering may be introduced in care homes in response to concerns raised by some pharmacies regarding paper records.
In preparation for these and other developments, please ensure that you share NHS mail addresses with the care homes (and other social care providers) that you support.
The flyer attached has been produced to raise awareness of the benefits to using NHS mail primarily for care homes but also for services within the health and social care sectors.
EPS4 - quick guide
As a result of the increasing numbers of EPS Phase 4 in GP practices and feedback from local Pharmacists, the attached guidance has been produced to help pharmacies access a patients EPS Phase 4 tokens.
Bypass Mobile Phones
To show our appreciation of Tesco for the donated phones,
please can you send us a photo of a member of your team holding our thank you poster and your phone,
On receipt of your phone you should have….
1. Inserted the SIM provided and charged your phone.
2. Completed the PharmOutcomes “Bypass Mobile Phone” Service by entering the mobile phone number. This will acknowledge receipt of your phone, links the mobile number to your pharmacy (Please use the phone number with the SIM card and not the one that might be on the phone’s box)
3. Ensure the phone is kept charged and switched on with a recognisable ring tone, when your pharmacy is open.
The bypass phone has been provided to you so that healthcare professionals can make contact with you when your landline is busy due to patient calls.
The telephone numbers will be provided to the CCGs for onward distribution to GP practices and district nurses, for example. It is becoming clear that if patients require end of life medication at home, particularly if they have Covid-19, this medication is needed very quickly. The district nurses may ring you if they have a prescription, to check you have the stock required and to make arrangements for the medication to be collected as a priority. If you are experiencing queues of patients, you may wish to arrange that someone will come to the back door to collect the medication, etc. A member of the LPC team is ringing each pharmacy to confirm the numbers before we share them with the CCGs. In the meantime, please feel free to share your number with your local surgeries etc.
All our CCGs have agreed to provide the LPC with the bypass telephone number for their GP practices and we will share this with you when received, so you and your surgeries can access each other promptly. Please ensure that these bypass numbers are only used when appropriate. Similarly, if you are receiving inappropriate telephone calls to your bypass mobile number, please report this to the LPC and we will escalate any issues.
Safe Spaces - working together to respond to domestic abuse.
During COVID-19, if you are experiencing domestic abuse, we understand that home is not safe.
UK SAYS NO MORE have partnered with Boots to facilitate their pharmacy consultancy rooms as a Safe Space for victims of domestic abuse during COVID-19.
However, any pharmacy can become a Safe Space.
During COVID-19, key workers in pharmacies hold a unique position as a single point of contact for victims of domestic abuse.
Your pharmacy can also become a Safe Space today. Simply follow the steps in this link.
Wellbeing and Mental Health during COVID-19 Booklet
Mental 8 May Bank Holiday Opening 24/04/20
Below has been shared in today's COVIID-19 Primary Care Bulletin
Dear primary care colleagues,
8 May Bank Holiday Opening
While COVID-19 infections are anticipated to be plateauing, it may not feel any different for the many areas of our country managing the increased care needs of our population and impact on staff. General practice and community pharmacy opening on the two Easter bank holidays had a positive impact on the wider health and social care system where it was needed most. Thank you for this.
However, we know demand is variable across the country and with more notice local primary care capacity could have been better matched in some areas. We are reviewing the data on activity as it becomes available, but we wanted to confirm now our expectations for opening on the next bank holiday, Friday 8 May.
Our key messages for you are to plan for:
· GP Practices opening but agreeing with their CCG in advance if that level of the service is needed and the staff cover required. Network level cover may be agreed as an alternative in view of anticipated demand.
· Planned bank holiday cover (OOH/IUC/EA) to be adjusted as needed in response to GP practice opening.
· All community pharmacy open 2-5pm but with any exceptions agreed in advance with NHSEI regional teams.
· Planned community pharmacy and urgent dental care bank holiday cover to proceed unless otherwise agreed with NHSEI regional team.
Please use your experience of the Easter bank holidays to ensure you have the right level of cover needed for your area.
We will confirm the arrangements in more detail early next week.
Nikki and Ed
Mental Mental Health and Wellbeing resources: Pre registration pharmacists and pharmacy technician trainees
HEE recognises that many trainees feel their mental health and wellbeing has been affected by the impact of the COVID-19 emergency. HEE encourage you to seek support from your tutor, regional training provider and local HEE pharmacy teams. The following resources are also available to support pharmacists and pre-registration trainees during this challenging time. Your GP will also be able to offer support and refer you to other services.
Urgent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supplies in Primary Care (Pharmacy, Dental and Optometry Services) in North East and North Cumbria ICS
North East and North Cumbria ICS have shared (16/04//2020) their process for accessing urgent PPE for Primary Care Services (Pharmacy, Dental and Optical providers) in the circumstance where you are expecting to run out of supplies within 72 hours
National bodies show their support for pharmacy teams team
Drive through Testing Centre - Ikea Gateshead
A drive through testing centre for health and care staff is now available at Ikea car park in Gateshead.
This testing service is available to all health and care staff (including independent contractors) working in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland.
You must book a test via email, before attending.
Northumberland CCG - Community Pharmacy Medicine Delivery Support for
Vulnerable and Shielding Patients
The LPC has worked with Northumberland CCG to launch a short term delivery service funded by Northumberland CCG.
The funding is only available for a two week window, starting 6th April - £500 per pharmacy for ideally 100 additional deliveries over this two week period.
Contractors can choose how they use the funding to make additional deliveries, for example, 100 extra deliveries in 1-2 days or spread them out over the 2 weeks.
Our intention is to increase community pharmacies short term ability to deliver to shielded or other vulnerable (at risk) patients and limit unnecessary footfall into pharmacies to collect regular medication over the next two weeks. After which time we hope the national delivery service will be live and the volunteer network will be more robust.
The LPC and CCG team are going to build a simple Pharmoutcomes module to capture the increased deliveries by pharmacy and facilitate payment.
Data needed is likely to be average number of deliveries per day without funding and the additional number of deliveries for each individual day with the funding.
We will share the detail via Pharmoutcomes ASAP.
Our ambition is to reduce the footfall of vulnerable patients into pharmacy and reduce the queues, and to highlight how effectively community pharmacy has used this funding to increase patient deliveries and to use the results to try to attract additional wider funding to protect more people during the COVID Crisis. We look forward to seeing the number of additional patients you have been able to support.
If you have any questions, please send them to [email protected]
Drive to increase eRD from GPs
Mike and Andre (LPN Chairs) are leading an initiative that seeks to increase the use of eRD across North Cumbria, North East and Yorkshire.
Legitimate Movement Letter
PSNC guidance on Hot Sites
PSNC has published the attached guidance for Pharmacy where CCG are setting up Hot Sites.
CNTW protocol for emailing Prescriptions to Pharmacies
A CNTW protocol has been agreed for prescribers working from home to email prescriptions to community pharmacies, with the paper prescription following within 72 hours.
This protocol uses the regulations related to emergency supply at the request of a prescriber. Please dispense the prescription in line with the scanned copy and record the emergency supply within the private prescription register. The actual prescription will arrive within 72 hours at which point the register entry should be updated with the date of receipt. Prescribers are aware that they cannot prescribe controlled drugs via this mechanism, although we are mindful that the emergency supply regulations are likely to be changed imminently to allow controlled drug supply. When this change happens, we will discuss with CNTW whether they have a need to prescribe controlled drugs to any of their patients. This protocol is not for use by the substance misuse prescribers employed by CNTW. The number of times the protocol will be used should be minimal. Please be aware that email addresses with @cntw.nhs.uk are secure and do comply with NHS requirements for emails used to exchange patient identifiable information.
If you experience any problems, for example, prescribers not telephoning to advise they have sent a prescription by email, patients arriving immediately after emails have been sent, prescriptions not arriving within 72 hours, please contact Anthony Young at CNTW on [email protected] and copy in [email protected] Please do not include patient identifiable information when copying the email to Ann.
Inhaler Supply Shortages
CHS, MCA and Supervised Consumption
Pharmacy bodies publish resilience guidance to support pharmacy teams
March 25, 2020
PSNC, working closely with NPA, CCA and AIM, has published guidance to help support and maintain the community pharmacy network during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are unprecedented times and exceptional measures may be required to ensure patient and public safety, as well as the safety and welfare of the pharmacy team. The joint guidance therefore considers the support needed for pharmacy staff to stay well at work, in the context of opening hours, during what are likely to be increasingly difficult and stressful times.
Opening Hours Flexibility
PSNC have publish on 22nd March an update to the Covid-19 situation.
It includes an updated NHSE&I SOP for Community Pharmacy, which states,
• If under significant pressure, at the discretion of the responsible pharmacist, pharmacies may close their doors to the public for up to 2.5 hours a day, including lunch.
• Community pharmacies are expected to be open to the public between 10am-12 noon and 2pm-4pm as a minimum (if these are contracted core or supplementary hours).
• Similarly, 100 hours pharmacies should be open from 10am–12pm and 2pm–6pm as a minimum.
A sign on the door must give information about how to contact the pharmacy if urgent help is needed.
Community pharmacy staff and those involved in the medicines supply chain are key workers
Health and social care
This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
PSNC have created a template letter pharmacy contractors can use to issue to their staff who are parents of children in education to the following news story:
Have you reviewed your Business Continuity Plan?
Consider planning for staff shortages of up to 50% given the recent government guidance on social distancing
Also consider your cleaning protocols to ensure all surfaces touched by patients and staff are frequently cleaned.
Other practical ideas that you may wish to consider under different scenarios within your continuity plan include the following.
• Limit numbers entering the pharmacy
• Encourage contactless payments instead of cash
• Distance patients from counter areas and each other e.g. a meter distance.
• Clean down pharmacy routinely in particular areas of high contact e.g. Benches, door handle, till
• Implement distancing measures such as offering to sign prescriptions instead of handing over pens and paper to patients except where legally necessary e.g. cd collections or reducing the handling of goods using paper bags to hand over products safely.
• If shortages of staff become extreme consider locking door and serving at the door way
• Consider rationing of medication if shortages escalate. (This can apply to sales of medicines and owing of NHS prescriptions)
• Establish lines of communications with colleagues in other pharmacies locally and potentially and locums.
• Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where necessary
Practices are encouraged to move patients onto eRD Electronic repeat
In light of the letter that went out to GP Practices on 8th March regarding encouraging practices to consider putting all suitable patients on electronic repeat dispensing
The LPC has asked PCN Leads to contact their constituent pharmacies to highlight the below statement and ensure that all pharmacies are in a position to actively increase electronic repeat dispensing prescriptions. The PCN leads can then confirm this with their appropriate Clinical Directors.
The advice included in the letter from NHSE/I on 8th March that states:
Prescriptions: Practices should not change their repeat prescription durations or support patients trying to stockpile: these actions may put a strain on the supply chain and exacerbate any potential shortages. Practices should consider putting all suitable patients on electronic repeat dispensing as soon as possible. The whole repeatable prescription can be valid for a year but each repeat should be for no longer than the patient has now. For example, if the patient has prescriptions for a month’s supply now then the repeat dispensing should be set up as 13 x 28 days’ supply.
At this time we would ask you to consider working closely with your local pharmacies to potentially share stock, staff and delivery drivers if this becomes necessary for patient care and pharmacy operational requirements. We urge you to speak to your neighboring pharmacies now and establish channels of communication and cooperation.
This could be facilitated by your PCN leads
The NPA and CCA have issued an open letter to patients, asking them to act in the interests of the whole community by helping pharmacies maintain vital services. The letter can be downloaded here