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Delivery to specified, eligible patients who, due to their medical condition, should not present in the pharmacy and where no other person is able to collect the item from the pharmacy and deliver it to them
While patients meeting the COVID-19 shielding criteria1 need to stay at home and away from community pharmacy and dispensing doctor premises, they must be offered a home delivery option for their prescription items unless a family member, friend, relative or volunteer can collect the medicine for them.
The National Health Service (Amendments Relating to the Provision of Primacy Care Services During a pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020 came into effect on 27 March 2020 and provide for such an announcement.
Medicines delivery services will be commissioned from both pharmacies and dispensing doctors across England from 9 April 2020 until 1 July 2020 in the first instance but may be extended as necessary as part of the COVID-19 response.
For community pharmacies, there is a change to essential services that places a responsibility on pharmacy contractors to make sure that a home delivery option is available to people at high risk of complications from COVID-19 who are advised to isolate at home for 12 weeks and meet the ‘shielding’ criteria. This option has to be offered if their prescription items cannot be collected and delivered by a family member, friend, carer or volunteer. These patients are flagged as being in this group on the web version of their Summary Care Record.
A monthly payment will be made for the period this service is commissioned recognising the administration required in assessing eligibility of patients, supporting the alternative of using volunteers to deliver prescription items and associated processing and advice. As Distance Selling Pharmacies are already contractually required to deliver medicines they have dispensed, they will not be eligible to receive the payment associated with provision of this essential service. This and further details are outlined in the Essential Service Guidance (see below)
This is being commissioned to pay a ‘per delivery fee’ where the patient cannot make their own arrangements for the prescription items to be collected and no suitable volunteer can be found, and the pharmacy therefore themselves delivers medicines to the patient. If a pharmacy does not wish to take part in the advanced service, as part of their essential services they may work with another pharmacy to deliver medicines on their behalf, or they must find another pharmacy who will dispense and deliver the medicine. As Distance Selling Pharmacies are already contractually required to deliver medicines they have dispensed, they will not be eligible to provide this Advanced Service.
The following resources have also been produced for easy tracking of deliveries made suing this new service:
1 www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable- persons-from-COVID-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from- COVID-19
Full information and guidance on the new service is also available on the following PSNC website news article: