Friday Letter 07/08/2020

Friday 7th August 2020

PPE Portal for emergency supplies – Now open to Pharmacy

Community pharmacies can now order additional personal protective equipment (PPE) through the online portal in an emergency only.

The PPE portal had previously only been open to social care and general practice providers to order and receive critical coronavirus (COVID-19) PPE supplies. Community pharmacies are now being added to the system and contractors will receive an email invitation to their shared NHSmail inbox to register. The emails will be sent in a phased approach to manage the smooth registration of pharmacies by the portal’s logistics team.

You will only receive a link to register if you have a premises specific shared NHS Mailbox. Emails will come from PPE Dedicated Supply Channel (please note this email address does not accept incoming emails):

All pharmacies can order up to 50 IIR masks, 100 aprons and 200 gloves (100 pairs) per week maximum, free of charge. Information on what items are available for your sector and size will be made available from Monday 3 August on the DHSC Guidance webpage. These will be delivered via royal mail within the following timescales:

  • 48 hours for orders placed before 1pm; and
  • 72 hours for orders placed after 1pm.

If you have any queries, please contact the customer service team on 0800 876 6802 directly. They are open 7am-7pm, 7 days a week.

Click here for more information on the PSNC website

Second Flu Letter for 2020/21

National Flu update letter 2020-21

The second flu letter for the upcoming national immunisation programme 2020/21 has been published on 5th August 2020.

This is further to the letter published 14th May and gives more information on the intentions for the upcoming immunisation programme, particularly in light of COVID-19.

This year, the aim is to vaccinate more people than ever before in the existing eligible cohorts as well as expanded eligibility to include the following groups:

  • household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List. 
  • children of school Year 7 age in secondary schools (although this will be done via the schools programme and GPs only).
  • health and social care workers employed through Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users.

In addition, there is the intention to extend the programme later in the season to include 50-64 year olds, subject to vaccine supply. This extension will be phased to allow those in at risk groups to be prioritised.

Please read through the letter in full and update your team to prepare for the upcoming flu season. Click here to view

If you wish to also refer to the first flu letter, published 14th May, click here to view.

PSNC have also published a webpage summarising the main points of the attached letter, which you may find useful. Click here to view.

Next Monday – Pharmacy Representation Review next steps webinar – Register now!

PSNC will be holding a next steps webinar on the recent pharmacy representation review on Monday, 10th August.

Please read through their following message and register your place on next week’s session:

PSNC Chief Executive Simon Dukes will be hosting a next steps webinar on the independent review into contractor support and representation on Monday 10th August at 7pm.

The webinar for community pharmacy contractors will talk about the review, report on the July PSNC and LPC meeting which discussed the findings, and explain more about the next steps. Simon will also explain how everyone in the sector can share any further feedback over the summer.

Learn more and register for the webinar

Roll out of Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) Phase 4

NHSE have announced the following regarding the deployment of EPS Phase 4 in their recent Primary Care Bulletin:

To help you prepare for winter, we are accelerating deployment of EPS Phase 4 which allows EPS to be used for patients without a pharmacy nomination. All GP practices using EPS with TPP SystmOne and EMIS Web will be live with Phase 4 by mid-September.

Phase 4 significantly reduces the need to hand sign prescriptions and deal with lost prescriptions. GP practices and pharmacies will also be able to track the status of more prescriptions using the EPS Prescription Tracker

Using EPS with a nomination is still the preferred and most efficient option, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so please continue to encourage your patients to nominate.

GP practices: Phase 4 functionality will be enabled automatically for all TPP SystmOne and EMIS Web practices that use EPS (including dispensing practices) from 7 September 2020. EPS Phase 4 is not currently available in the Vision or Microtest systems.

To ensure a smooth transition, it is recommended that practices enable Phase 4 before this date. This will give teams more time to access support from their clinical commissioning group (CCG) EPS lead if necessary. Practices can contact their CCG to arrange a go-live date. For most practices the move requires minimal action, but teams should consult the support materials and readiness checklist.

Pharmacies: As more practices go live with Phase 4 over the coming weeks, pharmacies and other dispensers will see the majority of hand-signed FP10s replaced by Phase 4 tokens.

Brexit: DHSC plans for end of Transition Period – PSNC

PSNC have shared the following update on DHSC’s plans for the end of the Brexit transition period, please read through in full and update your teams as appropriate:

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has clarified its plans for the continuity of supply of medicines and medical goods after the end of the Brexit Transition Period.

In a letter to suppliers of medicines and medicinal products, DHSC’s Chief Commercial Officer Steve Oldfield set out the Government’s preparations alongside its expectations of the industry in the run up to 31st December 2020. This includes requests to aim to hold six weeks’ worth of stock in the UK and to urgently review their own contingency plans for the possibility of a worst-case scenario.

In preparation for leaving the EU (prior to the start of the Transition Period), DHSC developed a multi-layered approach for protecting the supply of medicines and medical goods. These measures have been revisited for the end of the Transition Period, and adapted where necessary.

Learn more about DHSC’s plans

RPS Inclusion and Diversity Group

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has launched a new group – Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity (ABCD) – as part of a drive to improve inclusivity across the pharmacy sector.

The action group will work with existing networks and individuals across the pharmacy profession, enabling networking, supporting the RPS Inclusion and Diversity strategy, capturing individual group needs and ensuring intersectionality. Any individual who works in pharmacy, including non-members of the RPS, can apply to join the group.

Read more and apply to join here

GPhC position on COVID-19 rapid antibody tests

Please be reminded of the recent GPhC letter to community pharmacies regarding the provision and sale of COVID-19 rapid antibody tests.

GPhC have stated their position on this, explaining that in the light of current public health advice, it is not appropriate for them to be sold in community pharmacies or recommended by pharmacy professionals at this point in time.

Click here to view the GPhC letter

Extension to Self-isolation period

The self-isolation period has been extended from 7 to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus symptoms or a positive test result.

Click here for the full announcement on the GOV.UK website.

ACTnow Campaign for Pharmacy Teams this month

Pharmacist support have launched the ACTnow campaign to support the wellbeing of Pharmacists and pharmacy teams, in light of the additional pressures they are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACTNow campaign encourages individuals to:

Allow time for wellbeing

Consider the needs of your colleagues

Take action

Please see the Pharmacist Support page for more information

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