COVID-19: This week's updates for community pharmacies

Latest news, information and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and other bodies for primary care teams (4th September)


Please read the following important updates by clicking the individual accordion boxes below:

NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates

COVID-19: 4th September round-up for primary care

In order to support the NHS to deliver the flu vaccination programme, the Department of Health and Social Care have adjusted the order limits for emergency supply of PPE via the PPE Portal. These increased order limits are based on size and type of provider and will enable medium and larger practices to access supplies in line with the predicted increase in activity as a result of the flu programmes. These order limits also reflect the increased need for PPE due to COVID-19. 

More information is available on the DHSC PPE Portal guidance page and the portal customer service team can be reached on 0800 876 6802 for enquiries or registration support.

Flu service specification published
The Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service and supporting Patient Group Direction (PGD) have been published on our website. The service became ‘live’ on 1 September and is available until 31 March 2021. Some amendments to the service have been introduced to support greater vaccination rates and to reduce the overall burden to contractors delivering the service during the pandemic. You should ensure you are familiar with the content of these documents and the PGD is appropriately signed before providing any NHS flu vaccinations.

Government consultation on expanded role in vaccinations for pharmacy professionals
The government has published a proposal to expand the scope of Patient Group Directions (PGD) to allow pharmacists to administer unlicensed vaccines, including any COVID-19 vaccine. The consultation on changes to the human medicine regulations, which was published on 28 August 2020, also includes a proposal that pharmacy technicians could become eligible to safely administer a COVID-19 or influenza vaccine. The consultation closes on 18 September 2020.

New development opportunity for community pharmacists
New continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities for pharmacists are available, coordinated by Health Education England (HEE), and funded by the Pharmacy Integration Programme, to help improve the care of patients presenting with minor illness through the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service.

A programme of interactive online workshops and learning is being delivered to support community pharmacists in effective patient-facing consultations and clinical assessments for a range of common minor illnesses. The CPD is being delivered in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education. It will be facilitated by approved medics including GPs and advanced practitioner trainers.

Hepatitis C service specification published
The community pharmacy Hepatitis C Antibody Testing advanced service went live on 1 September 2020. Through this service, people who inject drugs and who are not currently accessing community drug and alcohol treatment services can be tested for the hepatitis C virus at a participating community pharmacy.

Any community pharmacy that meets the prerequisites for service provision detailed in the service specification can register to provide this service via the NHSBSA Manage Your Service platform. Full details of the service can be found in the service specification, which is available from the NHS England and NHS Improvement website.

National COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Service electronic prescriptions
From 1 September 2020, the COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS), hosted by the South Central Ambulance Service, added the functionality for GPs within the service to prescribe, using the electronic prescription service (EPS). This is intended to improve the patient journey and allow the CCAS GPs to complete an episode of care. The scope of prescribing will be for acute prescriptions only and may include controlled drug medicines where clinically appropriate.

EPS prescriptions coming from the CCAS are not restricted to patients in the South East Region as the service manages patient enquiries from across England. Pharmacists and dispensers will be able to use the contact details on the EPS token to telephone the service to contact the prescriber in the event of a query.

PSNC COVID-19 daily updates - all the latest contractual, operational and practical information

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PSNC are publishing daily COVID-19 updates by email to all those that have authorised this news stream feed.

Please find below links for this week's updates which cover the following topics:

  • Advanced Services: changes to consent, remote consultations permitted without prior approval from NHSE&I
  • Consultation on changes to the 'Human Medicines Regulations' relating to COVID-19 and Flu
  • COVID-19 operational pressures on independent pharmacies - August 2020 survey
  • CPCS training now available for community pharmacists
  • 'Director of Contractor and LPC Support' new job role opportunity at PSNC
  • Extension of emergency regulations until 30th November 2020
  • Flu 2020: guidance and resources available on flu vaccination advanced service from PSNC
  • Further extension to SSP05 & SSP06
  • Jext reimbursement due to recent price changes
  • Latest FAQs
  • NPA report that pharmacy network unsustainable under current financial framework
  • Pandemic Delivery Service; further extensions for patients in local outbreak areas
  • PSNC CEO funding negotiation interview
  • Reimbursement of Lithium carbonate 400mg MR tablets

PSNC COVID-19 daily updates: