Covid-19


Updated: 21 July 2021

We will do our best to support and advise you on any query and rely on your continuous feedback.

Community Pharmacy Hertfordshire (CPH) contact details can be found in the contact us section.

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UPDATE 30 June 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 looking to roll this out across the whole of Hertfordshire. However, initially they will only be rolling out the service to pharmacies in Stevenage and Watford. Pharmacies situated in Stevenage and Watford who are interested must submit their applications on the expression of interest form for consideration by 10am on Friday 9 July 2021.

There will be an ongoing expressions of interest period for rollout to pharmacies in other areas of Hertfordshire in the future after the initial application process. If you would like your community pharmacy to be considered for the commissioned service in the future we would encourage you to complete the expression of interest form at your earliest convenience.

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 considered for future rollout.

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COVID-19 Vaccinations: Vaccination Service Desk contact details

Community pharmacies and their staff are reminded that members of the public calling about issues relating to COVID vaccinations should be directed to the call 119 selecting the most appropriate option for the support they require.

The Vaccination Service Desk is for vaccination centre staff and workforce members of staff only dealing with tech and data related queries. Please ensure that the Vaccination Service Desk details are not shared with your patients.

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.

Storage LFD test kits as the weather heats up

Community pharmacies participating in the NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service (Pharmacy Collect) are reminded of the storage conditions for lateral flow device (LFD) test kits. Full details can be found on the PSNC website.

Covid costs

PSNC’s first COVID-19 Cost Claims Workshop for community pharmacy contractors is now available to watch on-demand.

Over 780 contractors watched last night’s online event about claiming for the extra costs they incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 92% of attendees found it useful, with almost 90% saying they would recommend it to others.

Contractors have until 15th August 2021 to claim for their pandemic-related costs using an agreed claim form provided by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). PSNC is working to get as much information about the claims process out to as many contractors as possible, including via webinars.

Contractors have until 15 August 2021 to claim for the pandemic-related costs using an agreed claim form provided by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA).

Further guidance and FAQs on the COVID-19 cost claims process for community pharmacy contractors can be found on the PSNC website.

PSNC’s first COVID-19 Cost Claims Workshop for community pharmacy contractors is now available to watch on-demand.

CPH would strongly encourage all community pharmacy contractors to review this information and make an application to claim the costs they incurred during the pandemic by the deadline.

NHSE&I publish details of Covid-19 vaccination booster programme

Full information on how pharmacy contractors can apply to participate in the above programme has now been published by NHSE&I as was sent out by CPH on 16 July 2021

Expressions of interest need to be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 28 July 2021.  Contractors already providing the COVID-19 vaccination service for phases 1 and 2 will also be required to express an interest in phase 3 following the same process.

Community pharmacy contractors are encouraged to express an interest if they would like to be involved in the COVID-19 vaccination booster programme but are reminded to read and understand the full requirements before doing so. It is likely that not all community pharmacies will be successful but this should not discourage your community pharmacy from expressing an interest.

Any community pharmacy can apply regardless of whether they have been involved in phase 1 and 2. Community pharmacies can also express an interest in delivering all three of the different models involving the different minimum number of vaccinations to be delivered in a week. We would like to remind you that even the lower level model of vaccinations is likely to require additional workforce in order for your pharmacy to deliver effectively so please build this into your planning.

A recording of the webinar held on 15 July 2021 is now available on the NHS Futures website. Please note you will need to be registered in order to access the recording.

Face coverings and PPE in Pharmacies: Advice from 19 July

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.

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 Vaccinations

Many second vaccinations for community pharmacy staff will start to be due now and in the next few weeks. You are reminded to return to the centre where you had your first vaccination. If you do not have a booked appointment or any contact details from the centre for your first vaccination and you second vaccination is imminent i.e. week 11 please contact the CPH office for further advice.

Extension of prescriptions and token submission requirements until 31 August 2021

Following representations made by PSNC to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministers in England have agreed to extend the temporary suspension of the requirement for patients (or their representatives) to sign the back of NHS prescription forms or EPS tokens until 31 August 2021. Whilst the suspension of signature requirements remains in place, contractors are not required to submit EPS tokens (other than those used for SSP claims) to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA).

Full details included updated guidance on the changes to the dispensing and end of month submission processes as well as important reminders for pharmacy staff on the correct completion of exempt or paid declarations on the reverse of prescription forms and EPS tokens can be found on the PSNC website.

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

Important Contact Details

Key Local Commissioner Emails

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

 

Standard Operating Procedure

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I)  issued an updated Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for community pharmacies in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A key amendment enables regional NHSE&I teams to notify pharmacies that they may work behind closed doors without the need for contractors to apply for such closed-door working. This change has been made to help healthcare bodies to tailor their response to the pandemic dependent on the local or regional situation. NHSE&I will consult with LPCs.

Full information on key changes to the SOP are highlighted clearly in yellow on the updated, published SOP and further information is available on the PSNC website.

PPE

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

Volunteers

In the first instance patients should be encouraged to identify a family neighbour or relative to pick up their medicines on their behalf where possible. Where this isn’t possible the relevant organisation’s contact details can be provided to the patient as follows.

How to access support:

  • Hertfordshire County Council accessible to all patients across Hertfordshire

If you are an individual requiring support in collecting a prescription, please contact Herts Help on 0300 123 4044 or go to Herts Help Website.

  • Communities 1st accessible to all patients across St Albans and Hertsmere

020 8386 4006      memberservices@communities1st.org.uk

  • Welwyn/Hatfield CVS accessible to all patients across Welwyn and Hatfield

whcvscars@yahoo.co.uk

  • London Colney Good Neighbour Scheme accessible to all patients in London Colney

01727 261104      events@londoncolney-pc.gov.uk

  • Watford & Three Rivers Trust (W3RT) accessible to all patients in Watford and Three Rivers

01923 216955      communitycars@w3rt.org

  • North Herts and Stevenage CVS accessible to all patients in North Herts and Stevenage

01462 689402      communitytrs@nhcvs.org.uk

  •  Community Action Dacorum accessible to all patients in Dacorum

01442 212888      ctadmin@communityactiondacorum.org.uk

  •  Harpenden Cares accessible to all patients in Harpenden

01582 460457

  •  Support For All (Wheathampstead) accessible to all patients in Wheathampstead

01582 380910      info@wheathampstead-pc.gov.uk

  •  Colney Heath Community Support Group accessible to all patients in Colney Heath

07803 313525

  •  Redbourn Care Group accessible to all patients in Redbourn

01582 794550      info@redbourncaregroup.co.uk

 

If you are approached by volunteer organisations please do put them in touch with the LPC and we will add them to the list above.

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

Smartcard multi-site code added to cards of pharmacy professionals

NHS Digital are adding the multi-site FFFFF Smartcard code to Smartcards with the pharmacist or technician role, for the duration of the pandemic. The initiative has been supported by PSNC and NHS England and NHS Improvement. The bulk activity performed by NHS Digital is scheduled to take place across this week and to be finished by the end of the week.

A temporary Smartcard position has been created to provide greater flexibility for pharmacists and technicians during the ongoing pandemic. This will help pharmacy staff if they unexpectedly find themselves working at their non-usual pharmacy – e.g. because of staff shortages.

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.