Covid-19


Updated: 20 August 2021

Community Pharmacy Hertfordshire has been working with Public Health Hertfordshire in order to commission a supervised LfD testing service from community pharmacies for your local communities where this support may be required. 

Please ensure you read the service specification and the requirements before expressing an interest in delivering the service. 

Public Health Hertfordshire is rolling this out across the whole of Hertfordshire on a rolling process although are particularly keen to hear from pharmacies situated in Watford, Stevenage and Hatfield.  Please submit your application on the expression of interest form for consideration as soon as possible and by 31 August 2021 in order to be considered.

Please note that initially those pharmacies that hold a public health contract may be prioritised due to the ease of the contracting arrangements but any pharmacy can express an interest and will be supported to be involved.

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Covid-19 Distribution Service : Updates on ordering kits

Community pharmacy contractors who are ordering lateral flow device (LFD) test kits will start to receive a different brand of test kits (Acon Flowflex) from Alliance Healthcare, once existing stock of the Innova test kits has been distributed.

When the new stock is received, the Innova test kits should continue to be supplied to patients in the first instance to use up the pharmacy’s existing stock. Full details can be found on the PSNC website.

NHSE&I guidance: Arrangements for primary care from 19 July 2021

Following the move of England to step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 response on Monday (19th July 2021), NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) issued a letter to all primary care contractors outlining their continuing expectations across primary care in relation to access, infection prevention and control, and continuing contractual arrangements.

Download a copy of the letter

Frontline healthcare staff may be able to avoid self-isoation

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that, from today, frontline NHS workers who have been told to self-isolate can continue to go to work under certain circumstances. This includes staff who have been advised to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 App and those contacted by NHS Test and Trace. Full details can be found on the PSNC website.

Covid-19 test distibution service updates due later in the summer

Contractors will be aware that the NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service (Pharmacy Collect) service specification states

that a review of the service will be undertaken at the end of June 2021.

The review is underway, and work has begun on some changes that will be introduced later in the summer. Information on the changes will be communicated to pharmacy contractors as soon as possible. Full details on the PSNC website.

COVID-19 Booster Vaccinations

Community pharmacy staff are within the category of frontline health and social care staff eligible for a coronavirus vaccination and are eligible to have the COVID-19 booster vaccine, once six months (180 days) have passed after your second COVID-19 vaccination.

Please be aware that you are not currently able to book your COVID-19 booster vaccine until the six months date from your second COVID-19 vaccination has passed either by online booking or by calling 119.

C-19 test distribution service added to the CPCF

A new Advanced service – the NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service – has been added to the NHS Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) from Monday 29 March 2021.

This service, which pharmacy contractors can choose to provide, aims to improve access to asymptomatic COVID-19 testing by making lateral flow device (LFD) test kits readily available at community pharmacies. The service is part of the NHS Test and Trace offering to the public and people will self-administer the tests away from the pharmacy, for example, at home.

Full details including payment, ordering and sign up to the service can be found on the PSNC website. Please do get in contact with the CPH office if you are experiencing any issues with signing up to the service.

Pandemic Delivery Service

The Pandemic Delivery Service for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients has now finished (31 March 2021). Community pharmacy contractors are therefore reminded that no further deliveries should be made to these patients, under this service. Contractors are reminded that the Pandemic Delivery Service for people who have been notified of the need to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace is still ‘live’ and is commissioned until 30 June 2021. Further details on the PSNC website.

Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Seminar: Herts CCG & Herts CC

Herts Valleys CCG partnered up with Herts County Council to deliver a session on how to tackle COVID 19 vaccine hesitancy to primary care pharmacists, community pharmacists, and primary care nurses.

The online session was held on 11 February and was delivered by Jim McManus, Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire and Vice President of the Association of Directors of Public Health.

Please see the attached slide pack for more information on this session: Vaccine Hesitancy Seminar 

A video recording of the session can also be found here: Vaccine Hesitancy Seminar- Vimeo

Important Contact Details

Key local commissioners:

Information for COVID-19 SOP

  • Regional/local health protection teams

Find your local health protection team at www.gov.uk/health-protection-team

On 15 January 2021, Primary Care East of England published guidance for pharmacies relating to Covid-19  fatalities for primary care workers. For further information and contact details please consult the attached documentation.

National Updates and Information

All information required can be found on the PSNC Covid-19 Hub

A wealth of useful and practical information is available from the following key organisations on their websites:

The GPhC has published and will continue to publish new standards in their knowledge hub that helpfully clarifies some of the key areas for COVID-19 that may be causing you queries such as working with other pharmacies and volunteer groups. The standards will continue to be updated with new areas as and when they arise. This can be found on the knowledge hub of the GPhC website.

Testing / Test and Trace

For current testing, wellbeing and Test and Trace resources, please visit the Covid-19 information site on the PSNC website

 

PPE

Updated: 2 September 2021

It was announced that the majority of restrictions will be removed from 19 July 2021, including the legal requirement to wear face coverings in shops and pharmacies.

Although face coverings will be optional and social distancing will not be legally necessary from this date, NHSE&I has highlighted that current Infection Prevention Control (IPC) guidance remains in place. This means that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings (including community pharmacy) must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.

 

For further details around the use of PPE please visit the PSNC website.

Dealing With Returned Medicines

National pharmacy bodies have today published guidance on dealing with unwanted medicines that have been returned to community pharmacies.

PSNC has worked with the National Pharmacy Association, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group to produce the joint guidance for community pharmacies in England.

The contractual requirement for community pharmacies to accept unwanted/out-of-date/waste medicines for disposal from the public remains an important service during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it does bring potential risks for pharmacy teams.

This guidance has been compiled to help contractors determine how best to safely handle returned unwanted medicines at this time. It contains a list of considerations and a suggested procedure, as well as checklists to work through.

Guidance on dealing with patient-returned / unwanted medicines

Checklists on dealing with patient-returned / unwanted medicines

Smartcards

NHS Digital previously added the multi-site ‘FFFFF’ Smartcard code and SCR rights onto Smartcards with the pharmacist or pharmacy technician role, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative was supported by PSNC and NHS England and NHS Improvement.

NHS Digital have confirmed to PSNC that assignment codes will be further extended until 31 March 2022. Full details can be found on the PSNC website.

FP10 Prescribing and EPS

Whilst the LPC position is that ideally EPS should be available for dispensing of FP10s this is not currently possible for all providers as outlined below. It is essential that community pharmacies ensure locum pharmacists or a member of the community pharmacy team is able to access the shared generic nhs.net pharmacy email address when the pharmacy is open.

Community Trusts

The Community Trusts that support patients locally do not currently have access to the EPS system and are setting up contingencies to support virtual clinics. The LPC has therefore agreed that in these cases that as the risk of posted prescriptions not arriving in time for a patient is a genuine concern, we have recommended that the prescription is scanned and emailed via nhs.net which will be auditable and traceable. This should then be followed by the original prescription being posted to the community pharmacy. We have been assured that the number of prescriptions should not be too onerous but wanted to make you aware that you might receive some prescriptions via this route at the current time until a better process can be identified.

Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT)

Medicines prescribed in HPFT community outpatient appointments are usually done so through issuing FP10 prescriptions which are dispensed by community pharmacies. To support (a) the government’s social distancing and isolation measures, (b) avoid any unnecessary clinic appointments and (c) support any staffing shortages the following actions have been recommended to be taken by HPFT prescribers:

  •  FP10 prescriptions (including prescriptions for Controlled Drugs) can be posted via the royal mail tracked service to the service users preferred pharmacy. The pharmacy must be told in advance that they should expect these FP10s in the post and an NHS.net email address requested. Prior to posting the FP10 prescriptions they should be scanned and emailed to the chemist and the envelope labelled “FAO Responsible Pharmacist”. The service user should be informed once the FP10 prescriptions have been posted.
  • Prescription quantities must not be changed from normal practice as increasing quantities will put the medicines supply chain at risk.
  • In order to provide an increased supply of medication several FP10s can be written at the same time to cover the next couple of months but each prescription must be clearly post-dated for example one dated for now, another dated for the next month and thereafter. However this must only be done if the patient is stabilised on their medication and the prescriber does not anticipate any dose changes.
  • If the patient is stable on their medication and the medication being prescribed is within the HPFT formulary then GPs should be encouraged to take over prescribing responsibilities as per normal practice.

Dentistry

Remote prescribing may be undertaken for some dentistry patients where necessary. Dentists have been advised to follow the below steps for remote prescribing:

STEP ONE:

  • Complete prescription and sign.
  • Scan copy and email securely to pharmacy email address.
  • Contact pharmacy via phone or by other appropriate means to advise them you will be emailing scanned prescription.
  • Attach copy to patient’s clinical records.

STEP TWO

  • Send original signed copy to pharmacy postal address within 72 hours.
  • Log all sent prescriptions, confirming receipt with pharmacy.

We would also like to remind all pharmacists that you can dispense private prescriptions from a private dentist as an Emergency Supply at the request of a prescriber. This can be in the form of a secure email followed up with the paper prescription sent in the post as per the process for NHS prescriptions.

Repeat Prescription and Prescription Duration

  1. GP Practices should be encouraging patients to order repeat prescriptions online or through their normal channels. Patients should not be directed to the community pharmacy who would normally drop their prescriptions to the GP practice in person as according to CCG guidelines.
  2. GP practices should not extend prescription duration at the current time which could potentially affect the supply chain detrimentally. This was included in Nikki Kanani’s letter to general practices nationally. Pharmacies are also reminded they should also not be advocating this approach for any of their patients.
  3. GP practices and pharmacies are asked to consider the opportunity for electronic repeat dispensing which will also decrease requests from patients.

FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions which have been posed by pharmacy contractors and their teams.