Friday Letter 06/11/2020

Friday 6th November 2020

Clinically vulnerable patients and the Community Pharmacy Home delivery Service

Yesterday, patients considered clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 were sent guidance, advising them to remain indoors. This includes advice not to visit your local pharmacy, as outlined in the following ‘Medicines’ paragraph, copied below.


You are advised not to go to a pharmacy.

You are encouraged in the first instance to ask a friend, family member, carer or a volunteer (for example one of the NHS Volunteer Responders) to collect your medicines for you. If none of these are available, then you will be eligible for free medicines delivery. Please contact your pharmacy to inform them that you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered, and they will arrange this free of charge

In light of this, the Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service and the Dispensing Doctor Home Delivery Service will be commissioned for all patients on the Shielded Patient List in England from 5 November 2020 until 3 December 2020.

This service will be commissioned In accordance with Home delivery of medicines and appliances during the COVID-19 outbreak: service specifications and guidance. Please see the relevant documents below:

NEL LPC COVID Mailbox and Guidance

With the commence of the second national lockdown, please be reminded of the NEL LPC’s COVID-19 Mailbox to support COVID specific issues and queries:

In addition, the NEL LPC is updating their guidance webpage. This is to include links to all relevant documentation, advice and an FAQs section.

Community Pharmacy Webinar – NHSE&I

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) are hosting a community pharmacy webinar next week, Thursday 12th November, from 6pm to 7pm.

This session is open to community pharmacy teams and will be Hosted by Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Dr Keith Ridge and Director of Primary Care, Ed Waller.

You must register by 12th November at noon latest. For more information and to register your place, click here to view the NHS website

CP access to centrally supplied flu vaccines – NHSE&I

DHSC guidance for community pharmacies on accessing DHSC centrally supplied flu vaccines: The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has issued guidance for community pharmacies on accessing DHSC centrally supplied flu vaccines. The guidance is for community pharmacies in England providing seasonal flu vaccination as part of NHS Pharmaceutical Services. Guidance for GPs and other NHS Providers has been released separately. Please note that the stock will be available from later this month, and DHSC will advise on when and where stock is available.

GP referrals to CPCS

From the beginning of the month, the CPCS was extended to include GP referrals for CPCS consultation for Minor Illness. Pharmacies that provide CPCS do not need to re-register, this is just an extension to the service.

Please be reminded of the following guidance from PSNC regarding the steps to be taken to prepare for CPCS referrals from GPs, and go through if you have not already done so.

PSNC Steps to prepare for local rollout and engagement guidance:

1. Reading the updated NHS CPCS Toolkit for pharmacy staff, so you understand more about how the pathway will operate;

2. Reading the updated service specification;

3. Briefing relevant staff on the changes to CPCS;

4. Ensuring pharmacists that will provide the service read the updated toolkit and service specification;

5. Supporting pharmacists to reflect on continuing professional development activity they could undertake to provide the best possible service to patients, which could include undertaking the NHS-funded CPCS training provided by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Engagement and setup payment

Contractors registered to provide the CPCS will be able to claim a £300 engagement and setup payment if they undertake a range of actions to get ready for rolling out the referral pathway in their area. The requirements are detailed in Annex F of the updated service specification and further guidance will be issued on this shortly.

Pharmacy contractors that are not registered to provide the service can still do so via the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.

GPs can choose whether they want to refer patients to the CPCS before they begin doing so. There will be discussions held in PCNs with local pharmacies, GPs, NHS and other representatives to agree ways of working locally. Please ensure you are engaging with your LCPN/PCN leads.

For more information on GP referrals to CPCS, please see the GP referral pathway on the PSNC website.

Free COVID PPE and Reimbursement – NHSE&I

NHSE&I have recently shared the following bulletins with regards to the PPE portal registration and for PPE reimbursement claims.

Please be reminded of the following information, read through the bulletins in full and action in your pharmacy if you have not already done so.

Thank you

Primary Care Bulletin 76 – issued on 23 October 2020

Free COVID-19 PPE for the frontline – Register with the PPE Portal

The PPE Portal has changed from being an ‘emergency top-up’ system to being the primary source of COVID-19 PPE requirements for primary care providers (including community pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, orthodontists and GPs).

COVID-19 PPE is classed as the PPE that providers are using over and above Business-as-usual (BAU) use, due to COVID-19 infection control guidance, rather than what would have been used pre-pandemic. While such PPE requirements will vary according to settings, contexts and individual circumstances, the PPE Portal’s order limits can serve as an indicative approximation of such requirements (especially where providers may be in doubt). Eligible primary care providers in England 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 Department of Health and Social Care (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 page will shortly be published with the local authority/LRF contact details. If this route is not possible, get in contact with the NSDR

Primary Care Bulletin 77 – issued on 27 October 2020

PPE Reimbursement

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) are working with us to develop a process to reimburse primary care contractors (general practice, dental, optometry and community pharmacy) for the additional PPE they have purchased to meet the COVID-19 infection control requirements from 27 February 2020.

Information on the process and cut-off dates for this reimbursement exercise will be announced shortly and providers must register on the DHSC PPE Portal to ensure they can continue accessing their COVID-19 infection control PPE free of charge. COVID-19 PPE is classed as the PPE that providers are required to use over and above Business-as-usual (BAU) use, due to COVID-19 infection control guidance, rather than what would have been used pre-pandemic.Processes and cut off dates may differ between different contracting groups and will be announced shortly.

We will be working with representative bodies in the coming weeks to ensure the processes are a good fit for each contracting group. Any PPE obtained from a source other than the PPE Portal after the cut-off date(s) will not be reimbursed. PPE for COVID-19 infection prevention and control is currently available to the above-mentioned providers for free from the portal. Further details providing clarity on the individual processes for each provider group will be communicated shortly. 

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