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]
Detailed below are some topics and tips shared to prompt your thinking
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
Easter Opening Hours
Easter opening hours for Pharmacies was announced via the COIVID-19 Primary Care Bulletin 3rd April 2020,
Brief extract below more details are in the bulletin.
GPs will be open for business as usual on both Good Friday and Easter Monday. In support of this we will need access to NHS pharmaceutical services on these days.
Under the National Health Service (Amendments Relating to the Provision of Primary Care Services During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020 and with agreement of the Secretary of State we are requiring pharmacies in England to open from 2pm to 5pm on 10 April 2020 and 13 April 2020.
Within the bulletin ......
"If a pharmacy is unable to open for reasons beyond the control of the contractor they should notify their NHSE&I regional office in the usual way and update the NHS 111 DoS;
Community pharmacies in areas where there is minimal demand due to the Government’s social distancing policy (eg in large shopping centres) should seek exemption from their NHSE&I regional team"
If you need to contact the Area Team please use [email protected]
or call Glynn Bosson 07500 789554 (9-5)
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