Warwickshire LPC

Coronavirus Advice (Covid-19)

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Government/NHS Advice

Government Main Covid-19 Page

Guidance for Health Professionals

Guidance on PPE

Guide for Social Distancing

SOP for Pharmacies (3.0)

National Pharmacy Letters

Link to all letters

PSNC Guidance

PSNC COVID-19 Main Page

PSNC COVID-19 A-Z Index

Frequently Asked Questions

Contractual changes

Guidance on updated SOP (Aug)

CPN Magazine July

PharmOutcomes

Operational Status Reporting Tool

PHE Resources

PHE Display Resources ALL

PHE Display Resources Pharmacy

PHE Blog

PHE Surveillance Reports

Other Useful Links

RPS Covid-19 Page

NPA Covid-19 Page

GPhC Covid-19 Page

Pharmacy Magazine

Covid-19 Primary Care Bulletin

Further Resources

Covid-19 PSNC Latest UpdatesCovid-19 LPC CommunicationsPandemic Delivery ServiceMedicine Management and Prescribing during Covid-19Business Continuity and SupportRisk AssessmentPersonal Protective EquipmentTesting Pharmacy StaffManaging Covid-19 Cases in PharmacyWellbeing Support#PharmacyHeroes

The situation around the new coronavirus (Covid-19) is rapidly evolving as we see evidence of a possible second wave of infections.  The nationwide lockdown that was introduced in March and gradually eased throughout the summer, has been replaced by periodic local lockdowns in areas seeing high infection rates recently.  The government’s latest message is: Wash hands. Cover face. Make space.  The Test & Trace programme was launched on May 28th to help control the spread of infections.

Pharmacies are urged to read the available guidance carefully, keep up-to-date with developments and adjust their business continuity plans accordingly.

We will update this page as new information becomes available. You can find the current NHS public advice regarding Covid-19 on the following LINK.  For the latest Covid-19 pharmacy news, click on the slider button below (please note this link will redirect to our sister website, Coventry LPC):



Covid-19 Latest News Slider



Frequently Asked Questions and Additional Support


  • What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?
  • How does this new coronavirus spread?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?
  • What’s the best way to wash your hands?
  • How can I best prepare my pharmacy staff to deal with Covid-19?
  • What is the Standard Operating Procedure for Community Pharmacies?
  • How am I supposed to protect my staff from catching COVID-19?
  • What PPE should pharmacy staff wear?
  • Where can I get PPE for my pharmacy?
  • Where can I get public information posters for the pharmacy?
  • How can I contact my local PHE Health Protection Team (HPT)?
  • How do I update my Business Continuity Plans?
  • What if I have to close my pharmacy due to contamination or shortage of staff?
  • Can I close my pharmacy to the public for a few hours each day to catch up on work?
  • What measures have been taken to help community pharmacies through the Covid-19 crisis?
  • Are pharmacy staff on the government’s Key Workers list?
  • How does the Coronavirus crisis impact locally commissioned services?
  • What is the ‘vulnerability flag’ in Summary Care Records?
  • What adjustments were made to Smart Cards to allow flexibility during Covid-19?
  • What financial support is available to pharmacies?
  • How can pharmacy staff get tested for Covid-19?
  • More FAQs
What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of this new coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • a new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.

Some people may also experience muscle aches, tiredness and shortness of breath.

source: PHE

How does this new coronavirus spread?

Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets. These droplets fall on people in the vicinity and can be directly inhaled or picked up on the hands and transferred when someone touches their face.

How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors; for example:

  • what surface the virus is on
  • whether it is exposed to sunlight
  • differences in temperature and humidity
  • exposure to cleaning products

Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so by 48 hours.

source: PHE

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?

In addition to reducing your contact with other people, there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel
  • wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially when you:
    • get home or into work
    • blow your nose, sneeze or cough
    • eat or handle food
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell

source: PHE

What’s the best way to wash your hands?

The best way to wash your hands is with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, around the same length of time as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Follow the guidance below:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

How can I best prepare my pharmacy staff to deal with Covid-19?

Contractors and pharmacy teams can take the following actions to ensure they are well prepared:

  1. Read the NHSE&I guidance and implement its recommended actions regarding preparing for COVID-19;
  2. Clearly display the COVID-19 posters at points of entry to your pharmacy and near the medicines counter;
  3. Read your business continuity plan and consider whether it needs to be updated to reflect the current and emerging situation;
  4. 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.
What is the Standard Operating Procedure for Community Pharmacies?

The Standard Operating Procedure for community pharmacies to manage the coronavirus crisis was last updated on 11th August 2020.

You can read version 3.0 HERE.

Any updates to this procedure will be posted on the following PAGE.

PSNC guidance about the updated SOP can be found HERE.

How am I supposed to protect my staff from catching COVID-19?

Contractors are advised to ensure that:

  • Patient information posters for NHS settings are displayed so they can be seen before patients enter the premises.
  • A risk review for their pharmacy is completed and steps put in place to mitigate any risks identified;
  • All pharmacy staff practice good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (closer than one metre when providing health care) with any potentially infected person.
  • Users of the pharmacy should be advised to keep a distance of at least two metres from other people.
  • Appropriate PPE is used.

PHE have advised that full height screens installed on medicines counters would provide helpful protection for staff and PSNC advises pharmacy contractors to consider installing these wherever possible.

What PPE should pharmacy staff wear?

Public Health England (PHE) and the other UK public health bodies, alongside the NHS, published the following guidance on Friday 21st August 2020:

COVID-19: Guidance for the remobilisation of services within health and care settings – Infection prevention and control recommendations

This supersedes the previous guidance issued on 18th June 2020 and separate advice on the use of PPE when administering vaccines, issued by PHE and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I).

More info:

https://psnc.org.uk/the-healthcare-landscape/covid19/personal-protective-equipment-ppe/

http://www.warwickshirelpc.co.uk/resources/covid-19/personal-protective-equipment-ppe/

Where can I get PPE for my pharmacy?

PPE (masks, gel, aprons, gloves) has been available through the main wholesalers. The cost of this will be accounted for in the negotiations by PSNC over the total costs borne by pharmacies during Covid crisis.

Masks codes: Alliance 8019622, AAH NSU2A, Phoenix 676546

If you are unable to obtain the necessary PPE to meet the current guidelines from the wholesaler and have less than 3 days supply remaining then the Local Resilience Forums do hold a small amount of emergency stock which you can call upon.
Email:  CV19PPE@warwickshire.gov.uk

Any organisation running critically short of PPE, and has exhausted other supply routes, can phone the National Supply Distribution Response (NSDR) on 0800 915 9964 for an urgent delivery.

More information on our dedicated PPE page.

Where can I get public information posters for the pharmacy?

Posters can be downloaded from the PHE campaign resources hub in a zip file.

If pharmacies have a printer, they are advised to print out the print-friendly black-and-white version. However, if they want a colour version and don’t have a colour printer, they can order the A3 or A4 colour versions online via, for instance, Vistaprint or another company.

PSNC has asked HM Government to print and distribute colour copies of these posters to pharmacies and we understand that PHE are now working to do that.

How can I contact my local PHE Health Protection Team (HPT)?

West Midlands East HPT

Public Health England
5 St Philip’s Place
Birmingham
B3 2PW

How do I update my Business Continuity Plans?

All businesses and NHS providers, including community pharmacy contractors, need to have an ability to cope with emergency situations, so that wherever possible, they can continue to provide services to patients and the public. The following page contains guidance and resources to support business continuity planning and operations during emergencies, such as pandemic flu.

https://psnc.org.uk/contract-it/essential-service-clinical-governance/emergency-planning/

What if I have to close my pharmacy due to contamination or shortage of staff?

In case of any emergency closure, complete the “Unplanned Temporary Suspension of Services” form (Annex 14) and send it to england.pharmacy-westmidlands@nhs.net.

Please also make sure that you inform patients with a notice, NHS111 Provider, DoS if providing services, local surgery etc.

Alternatively, you can complete the following form: Pharmacy-Forced-Closure

In addition, there’s an operational status reporting tool available from PharmOutcomes, You can find the user manual HERE. If a pharmacy declares a RED status i.e. is closing, completing the template will populate a closure notice that can be sent to the NHS England Regional Team (see email above).

It is at the convenience of the pharmacy to decide which of the above reporting forms/tools they choose to use.

Can I close my pharmacy to the public for a few hours each day to catch up on work?

The flexible opening provision which allowed pharmacies to work for up to 2.5 hours a day with their doors closed to the public, has been removed and is no longer available. The emergency regulations for use during the pandemic remain available to contractors and are outlined in the updated SOP.

The SOP provides guidance for contractors unable to open a pharmacy (e.g. to the unavailability of the RP or enough staff to open safely), or who want to apply for a change to the days or times they provide pharmaceutical services (e.g. due to a significant reduction in demand in location such as shopping malls).

It remains important to inform public and patients of any changes to pharmacy opening hours, for example, by updating the NHS Directory of Services (DoS), and to take appropriate steps relating to business continuity and buddy arrangements for the continued provision of pharmaceutical services in the local area (including services such as supervised consumption and monitored dosage systems).

What measures have been taken to help community pharmacies through the Covid-19 crisis?

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.

There will be a second letter shortly from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer but, in the meantime, we wanted to inform contractors that we have agreed:

  • Pharmacy Quality Scheme: the scheme will be postponed for three months and the period of delay will be kept under review. The released £18.75 million will be delivered to contractors for activity associated with the COVID-19 response.
  • Hepatitis C testing service: the introduction of this Advanced Service will be delayed from April 2020 for at least three months.
  • Pharmacy Integration Fund pilots: the three pilots announced last month (blood pressure testing; stop smoking support; and point of care testing) have been postponed until further notice.
  • Community Pharmacist Consultation Service: existing pilots for GP referrals to the service will remain in place, but will not be extended at this time.
  • Community pharmacy patient questionnaire (CPPQ) and pharmacy clinical audits: NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not completed these by 31st March 2020.
  • Practice leaflets: NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not updated their practice leaflets during the period of the pandemic.
  • Public health campaigns: for the time being, these will only be focused on the national COVID-19 response.
  • Data Security and Protection Toolkit: the current submission deadline has been amended from 31st March 2020 to 30th September 2020.

The requirement for contractors to complete the National Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Audit for 2019/20 had already been waived.  NHSE&I regional teams have also been asked to review the need for any local pharmacy Enhanced services.

Source: PSNC

Are pharmacy staff on the government’s Key Workers list?

Yes, 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, and therefore schools remain open for their children to attend during the Coronavirus crisis.

Key workers include all staff working in community pharmacies, pharmacy contractors’ head office staff, delivery drivers, volunteers, as well as those involved in the manufacturing, assembly and delivery of medicines for supply by community pharmacies, such as staff working for pharmaceutical wholesalers.

Template letter that pharmacy contractors can issue to their staff  (Microsoft Word)

Source: PSNC

How does the Coronavirus crisis impact locally commissioned services?

Any information we receive about the impact on local services will be posted on the relevant service page: http://www.warwickshirelpc.co.uk/services/

What is the ‘vulnerability flag’ in Summary Care Records?

The Vulnerability flag within SCR enables community pharmacy teams using the SCRa application to see an alert when viewing the SCR of a patient who is on the shielded patient list.

https://psnc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/PSNC-factsheet-Summary-Care-Record-Vulnerability-flag.pdf

What adjustments were made to Smart Cards to allow flexibility during Covid-19?

Before and during the start of the COVID-19 2020 pandemic, PSNC supported NHS Digital’s work to look at adjusting the flexibility of Smartcards whilst maintaining integrity of the Smartcard system.

Find out more HERE.

What financial support is available to pharmacies?

The NPA has compiled some useful information about the business support that is available to community pharmacies during Covid-19:

Financial Measures Available to Community Pharmacy during COVID-19

HMRC Helpline for deferral of payments

How can pharmacy staff get tested for Covid-19?

Please see our separate web page that has all the testing information:

http://www.warwickshirelpc.co.uk/resources/covid-19/testing-pharmacy-staff-for-covid-19/



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Providing information for Community Pharmacies about the work of the Local Pharmaceutical Committee and of the Community Pharmacy Services commissioned within Warwickshire

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