National Pharmacy Association (NPA) - News updates

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21

30/11/2020 (Please note that the information in this update is correct at the time of publishing; however, it is subject to frequent change as further details and information about this programme are released.) In this update:  NHS England and NHS improvement (NHSE&I) – preparation to roll out a COVID-19 vaccination programme – COMMUNITY PHARMACY – context and recommended actions Key points for community pharmacy Pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites Timelines for the site designation process for the initial nominated sites Additional sites Site designation criteria Key points from summary of the indicative Local Enhanced Service (LES) agreement and reference guide Initiation and duration of the community pharmacy LES GPhC standards Legal authority to administer COVID-19 vaccines Service provision Workforce Training Vaccines, consumables and PPE Item of service (IoS) fee and payment Additional funding Supporting documents Advice and support for patients pre- and post-vaccination Eligibility Community pharmacy staff eligibility Booking appointments National call/recall of patients Drive-through model Further requirements References and further reading   NHS England and NHS improvement (NHSE&I) – preparation to roll out a COVID-19 vaccination programme – COMMUNITY PHARMACY – context and recommended actions Several COVID-19 vaccines are at later stages of phase III trials and if any of these potential vaccines are authorised for use the NHS must be prepared to start vaccinating immediately.…

End of month update: November 2020 (England)

Patient safety alerts including guidance and other hot topics such as maintaining a patient’s privacy and confidentiality when working in a COVID-secure pharmacy environment are also included. We have also highlighted recent NPA webinars that you may have missed. In this End of Month update for November 2020, we will cover:  1.Claiming payments Summary table Claiming for the NHS pandemic delivery service (Advanced Service) Claiming for Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) Parts 1 and 2, 2020/21 2.Key hot topics/updates, new NPA guidance, resources and training Recent NPA webinars you may have missed – minor ailments, current hot topics, insights and learnings from GPhC inspections on providing pharmacy services at a distance. NHS flu service: Free flu jabs extended to 50 to 64 year olds from 1 December 2020 COVID-19: NHS pandemic delivery service (Advanced Service) restarted during lockdown COVID-19: Clinically extremely vulnerable people: updated government guidance during lockdown. Including two key employment questions answered by the NPA Employment Advisory service COVID-19: stay up to date with HMRC and business updates COVID-19: MHRA statement on Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19: Updated NPA indemnity insurance statement on COVID-19 testing for community pharmacies COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 – guidance published for general practice COVID-19: Respecting and maintaining a person’s privacy and confidentiality when working in a COVID-secure pharmacy environment COVID-19: Government’s COVID-19 winter plan COVID-19: stay up to date GPhC guidance on religion, personal values or beliefs 3.…

COVID-19 Winter Plan 2020/21 (updated 24/11/2020)

In this update, we cover: COVID-19 Winter Plan: general information England guidance NI guidance Scotland guidance Wales guidance Advice for pharmacy teams  The UK government has published a COVID-19 Winter Plan to manage the virus through the winter: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-winter-plan This plan will be led by three objectives: Supressing the spread of infection Discovering new and more effective ways of managing the virus and hence, enabling life to return closer to normal Minimising damage to the economy and society, jobs and livelihoods. Similarly, ensuring education is safeguarded in nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. England Public Health England (PHE) has also issued guidance on COVID-19 and the impact of cold weather on health risks. This PHE guidance is in addition to the cold weather plan for winter 2020 to 2021, which remains unchanged from the previous years. The cold weather plan is envisioned to protect the public health from harm during such climates. It is used to alert the public of the health effects cold weather can have on an individual’s health; hence allowing them to prepare and react appropriately. Full details on the cold weather plan found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/cold-weather-plan-for-england#cold-weather-and-covid-19-resources  COVID-19 is possibly going to exacerbate risks of cold weather.  PHE key messages include: Risk of COVID-19 should not act as a barrier to address risks from cold weather conditions Measures to prevent health risks from cold weather conditions Recognise and provide support to at risk groups Read and understand the cold weather plan, which has 5 different levels of actions, from 0-4, that need to be taken.…

NHS spending boost should be used to help pharmacies survive, NPA tells health service chief

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has today written to NHS England’s chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, asking that some of this new money is used to support the hard-pressed community pharmacy sector. In his letter to Sir Simon, the NPA’s chief executive, Mark Lyonette warned: “If the current pharmacy funding arrangements continue unchanged, many pharmacies [in England] will be unable to survive – limiting access to health services in villages, towns, urban areas and in rural communities. The inevitable result will be more pressure on the NHS” “We were delighted to hear that the Chancellor will announce a further £3bn funding for the NHS in the Spending Review this week. We very much hope that some of this extra funding will be used to prevent the community pharmacy network falling over and help us keep the doors open for vital NHS care.” An NPA-commissioned report, by Ernst and Young (EY), shows that three quarters of family-owned pharmacies in England will be losing more than 40 thousand pounds a year by 2024.  Community pharmacies collectively face a funding gap of half a billion pounds. Funding has been dropping in real terms for four years, and is set to carry on this path for a further four years under current arrangements.…

Free flu jabs extended to 50 to 64 year olds from 1 December 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that the flu vaccination programme has been extended to the 50-64 years group. GP’s and pharmacies under the Advanced Service can administer to these patients starting 1 December 2020. Please read the press release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-flu-vaccinations-rolled-out-to-over-50s-from-december Key points for pharmacy teams: Adults aged 50 to 64 years are eligible for the free flu vaccination under the NHS Flu vaccination Advanced service from 1 Dec 2020 Pharmacies can now order additional stock from the centrally secured government supply This DHSC flu stock is currently being used for patients and frontline social care workers as set out in appendix A of the community pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service specification From 1 Dec this stock can also be used to vaccinate the 50-64 years group We will update our members as soon as more information is released. References and further reading: DHSC guidance on accessing government-secured flu vaccines: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accessing-government-secured-flu-vaccines-guidance-for-community-pharmacies NPA flu service: https://www.npa.co.uk/nhs-flu-service/ NHS England Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Service : https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/community-pharmacy-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-service/   Please contact the Pharmacy Services team for further advice and support: Telephone: 01727891800 (Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat 9am to 1pm) Email: pharmacyservices@npa.co.uk…

Clinically extremely vulnerable people: updated Government guidance during lockdown. Plus two key employment questions answered by the NPA Employment Advisory service

Following the national restrictions that have come into force from 5 November 2020 until 2 December 2020, the DHSC and PHE have issued updated guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) (previously, these patients were referred to as ‘shielded patients’). Please read the full guidance available here. Key points about the guidance The updated guidance replaces all previous guidance on shielding The guidance applies to all patients who have previously received a letter from the NHS or their GP informing them they have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and may have been advised to shield in the past Two new groups of patients have been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable Adults with Down’s syndrome Adults on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5) Individuals will be identified as clinically extremely vulnerable if: They have a specified condition – please refer to the guidance for the list of specified conditions They have been added to the Shielded patients list by a hospital clinician or GP because they are considered to be at higher risk from COVID-19   People who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 Stay at home as much as possible and to only go outdoors for exercise or to attend hospital and GP appointments Not to visit a pharmacy and to request a family member, friend, carer or a volunteer to collect their prescribed medicines; if this is not possible, then to request the pharmacy to deliver their medicines Strongly advised to work from home and if this is not possible, then not to attend work during this period- individuals may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) Children should not attend school during this period if their GP or specialist clinician has confirmed that they are still clinically extremely vulnerable FAQs How should I manage a pharmacy staff member who falls under the category of clinically extremely vulnerable but does not want to stay at home and wants to come to work? CEV employees may not choose to attend work in breach of the government requirements, and employers must not facilitate or encourage them to do so.…

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 18-24 November 2020 – support the campaign

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is from 18-24 November 2020 and it aims to increase awareness to the public, healthcare workers and policy makers of global antimicrobial resistance and to prevent the further emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a dedicated campaign site with several educational and promotional materials to support WAAW. Antimicrobial stewardship We understand the COVID-19 pandemic has presented several challenges for healthcare professionals including pharmacists. However, it is imperative to raise awareness of antimicrobial resistance and keep antibiotics working. Pharmacy teams have an important role in supporting patients with self-care to prevent future infections and providing patients with relevant information when dispensing prescriptions for antibiotics. Resources Public Health England (PHE) Antibiotic awareness resources toolkit for healthcare professionals – resources to support the Antibiotic Guardian campaign and local initiatives in England in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-antibiotic-awareness-day-resources-toolkit-for-healthcare-professionals-in-england World Health Organisation (WHO) has a dedicated campaign site with several educational and promotional materials to support WAAW: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-antimicrobial-awareness-week/2020.   Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2020/21(England) As part of PQS 2020/21 Part 2, domain one includes antimicrobial stewardship where: Pharmacy staff are required to complete the ‘PHE Antimicrobial Stewardship for Community Pharmacy e-learning and e assessment’: https://portal.e-lfh.org.uk/Component/Details/602874…

COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 – guidance published for general practice

Background Several COVID-19 vaccines are at later stages of phase III trials and if any of these potential vaccines are authorised for use, the NHS must be prepared to start vaccinating immediately. The daily Government coronavirus press conferences / briefings has covered a potential roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in the near future. Slides, datasets and transcripts from the daily coronavirus press conferences from 10 Downing Street can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/slides-and-datasets-to-accompany-coronavirus-press-conferences   NHS England and NHS improvements (NHSE&I) preparation to roll out a COVID-19 vaccination programme NHSE&I has issued information for general practices for urgent preparation to enable them to contribute to a potential COVID-19 vaccination programme under an enhanced service: Letter from Dr Nikki Kanani, Emily Lawson and Ed Waller outlining the programme Annex A: Indicative Enhanced Service Specification: COVID-19 Vaccination Programme 2020/21 Annex B: General Practice Site Designation Process COVID-19 Vaccination Programme 2020/21 General Practice Site Designation Process Form Access these documents: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/preparedness-letters-for-general-practice/ Please note – the published information is aimed at general practice; however, please read this information as the information and service specification for community pharmacy information is expected to be similar to that for general practice. The delivery of the programme is quite complex. Reading the information for general practice will enable you to think about the considerations you need to take into account to deliver a COVID-19 vaccination programme in community pharmacy, including the challenges.   Key points from the information for general practice We have highlighted some of the key points from the information issued for general practice in this update.…

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pharmacy launch rapid inquiry into the impact of the pandemic on pharmacy

Pharmacy teams have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, with community pharmacies remaining open in the face of unprecedented demand, but a unique set of challenges are posing a threat to the sustainability of the sector. MPs have therefore launched the inquiry with a view of securing extra support from the Government and NHS on any extra needs identified. The flash inquiry aims to examine how pharmacy has coped and responded during the pandemic, the pressures frontline pharmacy teams and pharmacy owners have faced, and whether existing funding structures have been enough to support the sector. A survey of workforce and call for evidence has been launched by the group on Tuesday 17th November 2020 and runs until Monday 30th November.  At the conclusion of the inquiry the APPG will publish a report and a set of recommendations on what support and reforms are needed for the sector to remain sustainable in the future. Chair of the All-Party Pharmacy Group, Jackie Doyle-Price said: “Pharmacy teams have responded heroically in the face of unprecedented pressure during the pandemic. Maintaining the supply of vital medicines, stepping up to help absorb the additional demands posed by Covid and going above and beyond to ensure services continue. …

Future of the ‘safety features’ measures under FMD in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Now that the UK has left the EU and the Transition Period ends on 31st December 2020, some regulatory requirements will no longer apply. However, certain EU legislation will continue to have effect in Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol. Pharmacies in Great Britain The ‘safety features’ elements of the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD, 2011/62/EU) and Delegated Regulation (2016/161) cease to have effect in Great Britain from 31st December 2020. This means that pharmacies (and other end users such as wholesalers, hospitals and others handling or supplying medicines) will no longer be required by law to verify and decommission unique identifiers on prescription medicine packs. End users in Great Britain will be disconnected automatically from the UK National Medicines Verification System (UKMVS) run by SecurMed UK. This means that it will no longer be possible to verify and authenticate packs from 1st January 2021. Pharmacy operators and system suppliers need to check that any integrated pharmacy systems with FMD functions are no longer actively connecting to or seeking a response from the UKMVS after the end of 2020. Stand-alone FMD systems can simply be turned off. Integrated pharmacy systems can still use batch details, expiry dates or product details (GTINs) from packs’ 2D barcodes while these packs are still in circulation.…