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.
Reporting Closure/Unplanned absence
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
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
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.
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.
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