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Written by admin on Wednesday 18th October 2017
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is increasing concern of the pressures pharmacy teams are under. Additionally, it is being reported that GPs are informally referring patients to community pharmacies instead of doing so via the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). Therefore, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is requesting community pharmacy contractors to undertake their second Pharmacy Advice Audit on any one day in week commencing 25 January 2020.
Please note that contractors are not required to participate in a national clinical audit in 2020/21, as part of the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF), due to changes agreed last year to help contractors manage ongoing COVID-19 pandemic workload pressures
For more details on the audit and its purpose, including resources on undertaking it, please see the PSNC guidance:
A pharmacy team briefing guide, audit template, and short video, are available to support contractors
The key findings from the 2020 Pharmacy Advice Audit are also summarised
Please contact the Pharmacy Services team for further advice and support:
Telephone: 01727891800 (Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat 9am to 1pm)
In October 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued two Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) following ongoing supply disruptions to fluoxetine capsules 30mg (SSP007) and Salazopyrin EN-Tabs 500mg (SSP008).
SSP for fluoxetine capsules 30mg (SSP007)
SSP007 came into effect on Tuesday 20 October 2020
SSP007 is scheduled to expire on Friday 12 March 2021; however, this can be amended or revoked at any time
Under SSP007, when presented with prescriptions for fluoxetine capsules 30mg, pharmacists can instead supply three fluoxetine capsules 10mg, or one fluoxetine capsule 20mg and one fluoxetine capsule 10mg
SSP for Salazopyrin EN-Tabs 500mg (SSP008)
SSP008 came into effect on Tuesday 20 October 2020
SSP008 is scheduled to expire on Friday 26 February 2021; however, this can be amended or revoked at any time
Under SSP008, when presented with prescriptions for Salazopyrin EN-Tabs 500mg, pharmacists can instead supply generic sulfasalazine gastro-resistant (GR) tablets 500mg.
Advice for pharmacy teams:
Ensure all pharmacy team, including locums, who will be involved in dispensing an item in accordance with an SSP are trained and competent to do so
The SSPs and further information is available from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/pharmacies-gp-practices-and-appliance-contractors/serious-shortage-protocols-ssps
Ensure the current version of the SSP is used before supplying the alternative item
Ensure that the pharmacy team know where they can find new SSPs and/or changes to an existing SSP
Ensure that an SSP standard operating procedure (SOP) is in place and other relevant SOPs are updated, read, understood, signed and implemented by all members of the pharmacy team involved in service delivery
Ensure that the pharmacy has access to an NHSmail account (England only) or can receive emails so that it can receive notification when an SSP is issued
Professional indemnity insurance
NPA professional indemnity insurance will cover NPA members, customers (and the pharmacists they employ/engage) when supplying medicines/appliances under the relevant enabling legislation and the Serious Shortages Protocols (SSPs) which apply.…
The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today welcomed the expansion of the vaccine programme, and again claimed that thousands of pharmacies could eventually be involved, to accelerate the roll out.
The first six pharmacy sites went live on 14 January, including four independent pharmacies. Many of this second tranche of sites are also run by independent pharmacists, although some national chains are also bringing sites on stream.
Andrew Lane, chair of the National Pharmacy Association, said:
“This represents a significant expansion of covid vaccination sites, but pharmacies can ultimately go a lot further to protect the population. England’s network of 11,500 community pharmacies is a formidable asset in our collective response to the covid-19 pandemic. They are collectively capable of protecting millions of people if given the chance. “I believe pharmacists are going to be sprinters and marathon runners in the race to vaccinate the whole adult population by the autumn and then keep people protected into the future.”
Olivier Picard, owner of Newdays Pharmacy, is opening a vaccine site in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. He said:
“I’m doing this to help kick covid into touch. By offering more choice, in a convenient location, we’ll be making a big contribution locally. As soon as bookings were enabled through the National Booking System, we quickly became fully subscribed so there’s no doubt that people trust pharmacists to protect them. …
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced an SG investment of £5million for the new NHS COVID 19 Community Pharmacy NHS Medicine delivery service at her daily briefing on Monday 18th January, stating that although “many pharmacies already offer deliveries”, SG want a “more consistent and comprehensive service” available to “approximately 1.5 million people across Scotland”. The service is available immediately and review of the service in March will inform whether the service will continue for further months. Details of the service were published in NHS Circular PCA2021(P)01.
The prescription medicine delivery service, which is optional for contractors, will have two elements of funding:
an initial one off payment £1460 per contractor with submission of the declaration form included in the circular to Practitioner & Counter Fraud Services. This initial payment is for set up costs of the new service and in recognition that there will be medicine deliveries that will not be accounted for within the service level monthly payment for contractors
a monthly payment share based on delivery volume claims made by using the electronic “other” endorsement function, using the codes LDD to denote a delivery more than 10 miles from the pharmacy and SDD for shorter deliveries journeys
Patients eligible for the service include:
aged 65 and over
with an eligible health condition
young and unpaid carers
Shielding or self-isolating as SG guidelines
Any others whom a pharmacist believes would benefit from the service
Requirements for the service:
Completion and submission of the Declaration form Annex B to PCFS
COVID compliant prescription medicine delivery Standard Operating Procedure (NPA Scottish SOP will be available shortly)
Indemnity Insurance to cover your delivery service (If you have queries regarding your PI contact NPA insurance 01727 858687)
Suitably trained staff (The NPA Delivery Medicines Safely and Effectively course is GPhC accredited to upskill pharmacy teams to provide medicine delivery services
Compliance with Annex A Service Level Agreement
Maintain appropriate records of delivery attempts, including patient details and date of delivery (The ProDelivery Manager system used by many members to manage prescription deliveries can support with the reporting.…
An updated version of the “NPA Malaria prophylaxis information” leaflet, which expires 30 June 2021, has been published by the NPA Pharmacy Services team. The leaflet is available to download from the “Travel health” section of the NPA website; this can then be printed off if access to a hard copy is required. NPA members will not receive a hard copy of the updated leaflet because of the NPA’s continuing move towards making all documents available as electronic downloads, in-line with our environmental policy.
Advice for pharmacy teams
COVID-19 and malaria can have similar symptoms, such as a fever and cough, therefore it is important to act promptly if an individual, who has returned from an area with malaria in the last six months, develops such symptoms
Potential travellers should be informed to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) current advice for British people travelling abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic and for country-specific travelling advice
Travel advice should be given to the international traveller nearer to the time of their travel
Review up-to-date information from TravelHealthPro in relation to travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic
Advise the potential international traveller to monitor the FCO travel advice website in relation to COVID-19, country-specific advice and be aware that other countries may have different advice to the UK in relation to entry, shielding and social distancing
Advise potential international traveller to check with their travel insurance provider that they are covered to travel
The contents of the NPA malaria prophylaxis information leaflet should not be used for clinical decision making when following Patient Group Directions
Healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, based in Scotland, often use malaria prophylaxis advice from the Fitfortravel website; NPA members based in Scotland should be aware that the advice in the NPA malaria prophylaxis information leaflet is based on information from Public Health England’s (PHE’s) Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention
Changes made to the updated NPA malaria prophylaxis information leaflet
General guidance and further information links have been added in relation to COVID-19 and travelling abroad.…
The temporary Value Added Tax (VAT) zero rate for the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) ended on 31 October 2020. Since 1 November 2020, standard rate of 20% has applied on purchasing such supplies from wholesalers.
Action points for pharmacies
We would advise pharmacy teams that acquired PPE during 1 May 2020 to 31 October 2020, to check their invoices to ensure that no VAT has been charged for any supplies
Pharmacies can now order, for free, personal protective equipment (PPE) they need for their staff to use, to support them working in a COVID-secure manner when delivering NHS pharmacy services – for details, including claiming for PPE purchased, please read the full NPA update
Details on the temporary VAT zero rate for PPE applicable for supplies made by 31 October 2020
The VAT zero rate applied to all PPE which were recommended for use by Public Health England (PHE) in its guidance dated 24 April 2020 titled ‘Guidance, COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)’. The other UK governments, Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland and Health Protection Scotland (HPS), have followed the PHE advice on PPE.
Products covered by the temporary VAT zero rate included:
Disposable plastic aprons
Disposable fluid-resistant coveralls or gowns
Surgical masks – including fluid-resistant (Type IIR) surgical masks (FRSM)
Filtering face piece respirators
Eye and face protection – including single or reusable full face shield/visors or goggles
Please note: non-surgical facemasks and hand sanitisers were not included in the PHE recommendations for PPE and therefore, were not covered by the VAT zero rate.
References and further reading:
During last year, CPS surveyed samples of contractors on the number of days that were being impacted by employed members of their pharmacy teams being required to self-isolate or shield due to the coronavirus pandemic. This information was used to inform CPS funding discussions on the impact of the pandemic on the pharmacy network.
CPS will widen this survey to all Scottish contractors in the form of an online survey which will be emailed to all Scottish pharmacy contractors on a monthly basis from January 29th. Information on employed pharmacists and non-pharmacist team members, absent from the workplace due to shielding or self-isolation in each month will be gathered, again for the purpose of informing CPS discussions.…
When the ePharmacy system is unavailable to pharmacy teams, electronic messages will not be able to be scanned or received from the ePMS or PCR. Guidance has been published on the Community Pharmacy website which details tasks to complete prior to the weekend and procedures to follow during and after the weekend.
The ePharmacy guidance includes:
Prior to the weekend:
complete Smoking Cessation Minimum Dataset submissions due to expire at the weekend
Scan all available prescriptions before 6pm on Friday evening
Prepare any Serial Prescriptions (SRx) before 6pm on Friday evening if they are due for dispensing on Saturday or Sunday
During the weekend:
Continue to scan and send claim electronic messages throughout the weekend
Manually enter patient details and items into the PMR
Continue to enter Pharmacy First Scotland eligibility checks, and select to continue with the consultation as the PMR prompts
On Tuesday-Thursday next week:
Check for and re-submit any failed claims, failed MCR registration requests, failed PFS and UCF consultation claims from the weekend
If you have any queries, ePharmacy Helpdesk can be contacted on 0131 275 6600 or contact your Health Board Community Pharmacy IM&T Facilitator.
One way for pharmacy owners to try to ease the financial pressure on them during this pandemic is to ask their landlord if they would consider granting them a temporary rent-free period. One of our members has tried this and was offered a three-month rent-free period.
If you decide that this approach is right for you, we suggest that you may like to make a number of the following points in the letter:
· Independent community pharmacies are under enormous pressure as they step up to keep Britain healthy in the face of coronavirus. The team is putting themselves at risk every day, in a premises where maintaining social distancing is difficult
· In the pandemic, especially in lockdowns, there has been a massive rise in patient demand, together with increases in wholesale medicine costs, squeezing margins to zero, or even a deficit to the price of reimbursement by the Government, in many cases
· Pharmacies have also incurred significant increases in the costs of staffing, safety and security, and providing free delivery services to the community, as patients and residents self-isolate. We expect these additional costs of doing business to persist throughout the period of the crisis
A recent independent study by EY found that pharmacies are under-funded to the tune of £497m – with 72 percent forecast to be loss-making within four years if the current contractual arrangements carry on unchanged.…
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown for England on 4 January 2021 and instructed the public to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We issued an update earlier this month of key points for our members including key actions to take to ensure safety for pharmacy teams.
In this COVID-19 update:
Lateral flow antigen testing and FAQs
COVID-19 vaccinations and FAQs, including professional indemnity and insurance
COVID-19 vaccination – legal mechanisms for administration
Stay at home guidance
Shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
NHS Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service
1) Lateral flow antigen testing and FAQs
On 16 December 2020, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) issued a letter to all primary care contractors, including community pharmacy, with information on how to order lateral flow antigen testing kits for patient-facing staff. Primary Care Services England (PCSE) will be managing the ordering and delivery of the tests.
For details, please read the NPA news story on Lateral flow antigen testing for community pharmacy staff.
Key FAQs raised by NPA members with the Pharmacy Services team on lateral flow antigen testing (LFT) for community pharmacy staff and self-isolation.
1) Is it compulsory for pharmacy staff to do the LFT test?…