Covid 19 (Coronavirus)
For information, resources and updates scroll down the page
Emergency Closure Procedure
The documents below can be used to assist you in the event of an emergency closure. Please ensure you also inform any local substance misuse providers of your closure.
Pandemic Delivery Service This item provides information for pharmacy contractors and their teams on contractual responsibilities introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic related to supporting certain groups of people to obtain their medicines via a delivery service. There are service requirements within the Terms of Service which apply to all pharmacy contractors (excluding distance selling pharmacies) and an optional Advanced service which contractors can choose to provide. Initially, the service requirements applied to clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients self-isolating at home (also referred to as shielded patients), but this cohort of patients is not now covered by the service. From 16th March 2021, people who have been notified of the need to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace are able to access support for the delivery of their prescriptions from contractors. This page also contains general guidance on delivering all prescriptions during the pandemic and on the use of volunteers. The service is currently ACTIVE until 23:59 on 31st March 2022 for people notified of the need to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in all areas of England. The service is NOT active for CEV (shielding) patients. Further information on CPE website: click here
Unscheduled and Temporary closures due to Covid19 – Omicron virus Please find below a letter and a template form providing you with details of expected actions should you have an unscheduled closure. The letter also contains details of actions relating to a temporary closure or restricted opening.
Updated guidance – self isolation & return to work Updated PHE guidance on NHS staff and student self-isolation and return to work following COVID-19 contact has been published. Download it here
COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available via portal
The Government’s PPE portal can be used by community pharmacies to obtain all the COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) they need; the supplies will be provided free of charge. Pharmacies can use the portal to meet the extra need for PPE that has arisen as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current weekly order limits for pharmacies are listed on the GOV.UK website; the more staff a pharmacy has, the larger the quantity of PPE that can be ordered each week.
The portal can be accessed here – https://nhs-ppe.co.uk/customer/authentication
Local health protection team
PHE Cumbria and Lancashire Health Protection Team, Lancashire County Council, Pitt Street Reception County Hall, Preston, PR1 8XB
Phone: 0344 225 0562 option 2
Out of office: 0151 434 4819
Pharmacy Business Continuity Checklist
Click here for a pharmacy business continuity checklist for use in case your pharmacy is at risk of closure due to Covid -19 related issues. The process is closely aligned to the PSNC process and so pharmacies should already be familiar with the requirements as part of business continuity plans. The communication summaries the local contact details.
If you have any queries please email them to: email@example.com
Stay Safe in your pharmacy campaign
CPL has launched the second part of its media campaign, now named “Stay safe in your pharmacy“. The key aim being to reassure the population of the measures in place in community pharmacies and to let the public know they are safe in their local community pharmacy.
A number of resources have been produced for contractors to use. Below is a poster which can be used in the pharmacy and three pictures that can be tweeted on social media.
- A4 poster – Stay Safe in your Pharmacy
- Picture – Safely…Opening when you need us
- Picture – Safely…Providing the care you need
- Picture – Safely…Working with social distancing
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – access routes
Following queries from contractors – here is a summary of the following steps to access PPE:
- Contact your wholesaler in the first instance
- If you cannot get PPE from your wholesaler, contact your Local Resilience Forum (LRF) – Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool or Lancashire County Council each have their own LRF
- As a final resort, an urgent request can be made via the National Supply Disruption Service (NSDR) helpline by telephoning 0800 915 9964
How to contact your LRF:-
|LRF for each Council||Contact details|
|Blackburn with Darwen||email – firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Blackpool||email – email@example.com|
|Lancashire County Council||phone 0300 123 6786 (open 7 days 08.00 – 19.00)|
Sexual Health Services
Click here to read a letter detailing information for Lancashire commissioners from Lancashire Sexual Health Service
Testing for COVID-19
Click here to be redirected to our dedicated Covid 19 testing page for national and local information
Letter to MPs across Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen, & Lancashire
CPL last week wrote to all our Members of Parliament (MPs) raising the issue that community pharmacists and their teams are facing . A copy of the letter can be can be found at here.
Legitimate Movement Letter
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and GPhC have produced a letter that pharmacy staff can use to help verify their right to legitimate movement as a key healthcare worker with law enforcement teams, should this be required: https://tinyurl.com/wdafees
Public Health England (PHE) have a set of posters for use in pharmacies. These include:
- An poster that should be displayed so it is visible to people seeking to enter the premise
- A poster to advise on maintaining a 2m distance from others
- A poster pharmacies can use if they are working behind closed doors for part of the day
These can all be downloaded from the PHE campaign resources hub. https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101/resources/5015
Any previously issued posters should be removed from display and be replaced by the above
NHS Volunteer Responders
750,000 people have signed up to support vulnerable people through this programme. This provides a rich seam of voluntary support which is there to help you in your community efforts at this time
Care for your pharmacy so that pharmacy can care for you – campaign
CPL has begun a local media campaign to highlight the role that you and your teams are playing at this very difficult time in your communities to ensure the safe supply of medicines to your communities.
The campaign called “Care for your pharmacy so that pharmacy can care for you” is planned to run for three months to help and support you in working with your communities.
The first message was a direct result of feedback from yourselves about the cases of abusive behaviour that you and your teams have had to experience from a few members of the public, this is not acceptable. We have produced a poster should you wish to display this in your window
For those of you with social media accounts here are three additional graphics based on Caring for…… If you have time can you share this on your media channels to support the work we are doing with the press and the radio stations
The images are for contractors to use on their social media accounts
Below are a number of documents & posters to help you at this time
- Notification form for Unexpected Closure
- Emergency closure checklist for community pharmacy
- Messages to give to patients
- Business Continuity Plan
- Door Poster – Do Not Enter
- Door Poster – Pharmacy Closed
- Door Poster – Restricted Opening
- Pharmacy Poster – Be Kind
- Pharmacy Poster – Patient Help
- Pharmacy Triage Leaflet
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for patients in 34 languages
- COVID 19 – UEC Directory of Services (DOS) Requesting DoS User Account (for Pharmacy) V2.2 – March 25th 2020
PSNC, working closely with NPA, CCA and AIM, has published guidance: https://psnc.org.uk/the-healthcare-landscape/covid19/network-resilience/ to help support and maintain the community pharmacy network during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are unprecedented times and exceptional measures may be required to ensure patient and public safety, as well as the safety and welfare of the pharmacy team. The joint guidance therefore considers the support needed for pharmacy staff to stay well at work, in the context of opening hours, during what are likely to be increasingly difficult and stressful times. The guidance addresses three aspects of an NHS pharmacy’s terms of service – opening hours, responsible pharmacist and unplanned (emergency) closures – with advice given on how best to address each going forwards. Find the guidance in PSNC’s network resilience page.
Change Grow Live
Information on coronavirus from Change Grow Live can be found on their website: https://www.changegrowlive.org/advice-info/coronavirus
Coronavirus: Guidance for Community Pharmacy contractors
What contractors and pharmacy teams can do now
Contractors and pharmacy teams can take the following actions to ensure they are well prepared:
- Read the NHSE&I guidance (see section below) and implement its recommended actions regarding preparing for COVID-19
- Clearly display the COVID-19 posters (see section below) at points of entry to your pharmacy and near the medicines counter
- Read your business continuity plan and consider whether it needs to be updated to reflect the current and emerging situation
- Keep up to date with developments by regularly checking the information on COVID-19 on GOV.UK and checking your NHSmail shared mailbox on a regular basis for updates from NHSE&I
- Where possible, display the public health advice posters on hand washing etc
Community pharmacies are advised to display TWO PHE posters so they are visible to people seeking to enter the premises (as of 11.03.20): https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101/resources/5015
Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Gloves, aprons and face masks should be ordered via normal wholesalers in small quantities. These supplies should be used only by pharmacy staff, and not sold to the public. Following discussion with PSNC, DHSC and NHSE&I have been working with Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that wholesalers’ stocks are replenished from the national PHE supplies. Free of charge packs of PPEs will also be sent to pharmacies later this week or early next week. The guidance on use of PPE is still that it only needs to be used if you are entering a room in an emergency, where an infected/possibly infected patient is isolated and when decontaminating a room where such a patient has been present (in this case the PPE is to protect the worker from the cleaning products being used). As a consequence of this, the need for community pharmacies to have to use PPE, at this time, is low. Wherever possible, a patient presenting in the pharmacy with possible COVID-19 infection should be immediately told to return home and then access NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 (calling being a secondary option to online access) in order that the pharmacy does not have the increased risk of dealing with an isolated patient in the consultation room and the subsequent need for decontamination.
PSNC COVID 19
The PSNC COVID 19 page can be found at: https://psnc.org.uk/the-healthcare-landscape/covid19/
More useful links
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
- Key worker Guidance for schools and a template letter for staff to use can be downloaded here. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
- GOV.UK – For the latest government advice for health professionals. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/wuhan-novel-coronavirus
- GPHC – The latest news, including support and regulatory support can be accessed here. https://www.pharmacyregulation.org/news
- RPS – For news and support visit the RPS website https://www.rpharms.com/coronavirus