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Written by RichardBuxton on Friday 20th March 2020
Latest news, information and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) for primary care teams (20th March)
Last week the COVID-19 outbreak officially became a pandemic and the UK response moved from the 'containment phase' to the 'delay phase'. The decision on moving to the next phase was taken by Government and was followed by the publishing of further guidance on the approach to managing the outbreak by Government and the NHS.
Updated posters were published by Public Health England (PHE) today. Community pharmacies are advised to display the following ONE PHE poster so it is visible to people seeking to enter the premises.
They can be downloaded from the PHE campaign resources hub.
The following previously issued posters should be removed from display and be replaced by the above posters:
Useful PDF posters & single pull banner suitable for printing:
NHS England has produced the second of a series of regular updates to community pharmacy regarding the emerging COVID-19 situation.
Further details of the letter can be found on the NHS website
By now, packs of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should have been delivered to community pharmacies by DPD. If a pharmacy hasn’t received their pack, they should call the National Supply Disruption line on 0800 915 9964 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PSNC is working with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide as much support and guidance as possible to help community pharmacy teams contribute to some of the many challenges that could arise in an epidemic situation.
A number of new measures have been agreed to support community pharmacies as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of the developing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that this is already having on community pharmacies, PSNC has gained agreement from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on a number of measures to help contractors.
Please see the latest Chief Pharmaceutical Officer letter for full details (Preparedness letter for community pharmacy - 19th March). In summary, what has been agreed is:
This week PSNC will be undertaking more detailed discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) pressing for further support, including underlining the absolute necessity of protecting the services that pharmacies are providing at the moment. PSNC have told HM Government that, in addition to measures set out above, the sector needs:
The Government has announced that schools in England will be closed from the end of Friday 20th March for all but a limited number of children. Schools have been asked to continue to provide care for children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot safely be cared for at home.
Community pharmacy staff and those involved in the medicines supply chain, including the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector, are key workers critical to the Government’s COVID-19 response. The Government has identified the following key workers in health and social care:
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.
The definition of key workers has been deliberately drafted broadly, so that all the people involved in the medicines and pharmacy supply chains who are critical to the supply of medicines, and the delivery of pharmacy services, to patients and the public – including pharmacists and pharmacy staff – are included.
PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes said:
“Whilst pharmacists have not been included by name, those of us in the community pharmacy sector know that it takes more than one person to keep a pharmacy running. The Government needed to ensure that all those important workers – pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy dispensers, pharmacy drivers, staff in wholesalers, distributers, etc. – were included and therefore settled on a wider definition than some may have been expecting. It does however demonstrate the value of the dispensing and supply of medicines at a time of national health crisis – something that has arguably been undervalued by governments in the past – and that can only be a good thing for our sector.”
Two significant announcements were made by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) this week. In summary these included:
Details of the announcements are in the following documents: