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Written by RichardBuxton on Friday 16th October 2020
Latest news, information and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and other bodies for primary care teams (16th October)
Please read the following important updates by clicking the individual accordion boxes below:
The NHS will be running the largest flu programme ever in the 2020/21 flu season and part of this includes a drive to increase uptake in existing cohorts eligible for a free vaccine, along with the expansion to new groups.
In order to support the expanded vaccination programme, DHSC has secured an additional supply of influenza vaccines, which arrive later in the season to top up local supplies once they run low. The process by which GPs will be able to access this additional stock is explained in the guidance. GP practices will be provided the DHSC vaccines free of charge but will only be able to claim an Item of Service Fee for each DHSC supplied vaccine that is administered. A pre-set proportion of this additional stock will also be made available to Trusts and community pharmacy, and the arrangements for them to order against this stock will be confirmed shortly.
In addition, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and DHSC have published a narrative outlining the position on vaccine supply for the national flu programme.
Local Covid Alert Level guidance and associated update to guidance for people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (on the Shielded Patient List)
The Government has issued guidance on the new approach to managing outbreaks. Every local area will be assigned a Local Covid Alert Level (medium, high, very high) determining the regulations/guidance that will apply in an area.
Alongside this, the Government has also published updated guidance on shielding and protecting people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV - those on the Shielded Patients List). This provides advice on additional precautions people at highest risk may wish to take at each Local Alert Level.
In the future, the government will only reintroduce formal shielding advice in the very worst affected local areas and for a limited period of time. This will only apply to some, but not all, Very High Alert Level areas and will be based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
It is essential that everyone who needs to access health services is supported to do so. Individuals who are CEV may be particularly anxious about attending health settings, and this should be taken into account in care planning and in communications about attending appointments and visiting NHS sites.
Service enables pharmacies to make market entry applications digitally
Primary Care Support England (PCSE) successfully launched a digital service for pharmacies to make market entry applications online earlier this year, hosted on its platform PCSE Online. It enables users to apply to open a new pharmacy, add or remove directors from their corporate structure and change ownership.
The service is available to those wishing to make an application and modernises a paper-based service, which used over 30 separate forms. It’s a one-stop online tool giving users a streamlined, faster and more efficient application process, and enables users to track the progress of their applications in real time.
The application process is simple - users register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and the PCSE team will contact them to guide them through setting up their profile and start making their application. Further information on the market entry process can be found on the PCSE website.
Flu vaccination public messaging
Thank you to GP and community pharmacy teams for your work to protect the public through providing flu vaccinations to at risk groups this autumn. Thousands of people have already been vaccinated and many more booked in for their future appointments as the flu season progresses.
Public Health England published new information for the public about flu vaccination supplies and why some people may need to wait for their flu jab last week, along with a leaflet to be shared with the public. Please read and share the materials within your teams and with the public to provide reassurance that sufficient supply is available nationally to vaccinate all eligible patients and to explain the different phases of the supply of vaccine and that there are several types of vaccination.
National flu marketing campaign posters are also available to download. These, along with a briefing, are being delivered to providers. Please use these in line with the supplies of vaccine and proactively communicate to the public with the assets available. Further briefings and updates will be shared via this bulletin as they become available.
Thank you for your ongoing work as we move into the winter period. We hope you do find this bulletin useful as we will continue to highlight important updates for all providers in the COVID-19 updates section below as well the provider-specific sections when relevant. Today’s issue includes an update on the PPE portal which is relevant to all providers, so please do take note.
Free PPE for the frontline – Register with the PPE Portal
For those who were previously unaware, the PPE Portal has changed from being an ‘emergency top-up’ system to meeting COVID-19 PPE requirements. Eligible primary care providers in England (including community pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, orthodontists and GPs) should now order PPE through the portal, free of charge, to meet the increased need that has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DHSC has partnered with the NHS and the e-commerce industry to develop this service in order to ensure that those on the frontline have what they need. The overriding priority is to protect people and our wider communities, thereby reducing infections and saving lives. We must make sure everyone has the PPE they need so please do play your part in this collective effort.
Register and access the portal using your CQC/MHRA/NHSE/NHS BSA registered email. The latest guidance on what PPE items you can order (including order limits) is also available. Call the customer service team on 0800 876 6802 if you have any questions about using the PPE portal (including registration and queries or if you think you should have been invited but have not been). The team is available from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week, to help resolve your queries.
The PPE portal will be the primary source of free COVID-19 PPE (including Flu vaccination requirements). However, if there is a severe disruption to distribution, in the first instance get in contact with your local authority or LRF. A gov.uk page will shortly be published with the local authority/LRF contact details. If this route is not possible, get in contact with the NSDR.
Latest updates on flu vaccination for pharmacy teams
Thank you to community pharmacy teams for the excellent work so far in administering over 1.2 million flu vaccines to priority cohorts this autumn.
The Department of Health and Social Care has secured a significant amount of additional flu vaccine stock for release across general practice, community pharmacy and NHS trusts. A pre-set proportion of this additional stock will be made available to community pharmacy shortly, and the arrangements for how to order against it will be confirmed.
The Public Health England resources to support the mandated flu vaccination campaign are being delivered this week. The resources are in a clearly marked envelope and include a selection of posters to enable teams to target their flu vaccination service according to local circumstances and availability of vaccine. If contractors have not received their pack by 16 October 2020 please email email@example.com.
An additional fund of money has been made available to pharmacies to use alternative premises in order to offer flu vaccinations more flexibly off site during the COVID-19 pandemic. The eligibility to claim against these monies for pharmacy is set out in the Drug Tariff, with regional teams now ready to start pre-approving these requests for monies to be claimed via the NHS BSA MYS online portal.
Quicker testing for COVID-19 is very important for pharmacy team members working in community pharmacies.
A new temporary procedure should be followed to allow for quicker processing. Please follow the procedure explained in the following CPSC News article:
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:
PSNC COVID-19 daily updates: