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A Message from your Community Pharmacy Lancashire Chairman
We have always been incredibly proud of the way our pharmacy teams have provided excellent service to all the communities across our footprint of Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire. Especially so over recent years where despite the consequences of a financial imposition we have had forced upon us, you and your team have continued to go above and beyond for your patients, providing increasing numbers of services alongside a growing contractual governance burden.
In this last couple of weeks however, the levels of bravery, resilience, compassion and dedication shown by every single team member right throughout what now feels like our big community pharmacy family, is nothing short of inspirational.
Our pharmacy teams throughout the country have acted almost as if it was an honour and privilege to be the only remaining, wholly accessible provider of primary care services. I have lost count of the numbers of stories of colleagues in all roles who are cancelling annual leave, days off, coming in early, staying late and foregoing anything resembling appropriate rest periods.
It has been equally heart-warming to see many examples of how pharmacy as a whole is demonstrating a true camaraderie and support for one another in the spirit of providing uninterrupted high quality pharmacy services to our patients. Please do continue to support one another, in your own direct teams and further afield, this kindness will go a long way to supporting us all through what is going to be a lengthy and extremely challenging period.
Despite what feels like a wholesale lack of acknowledgement from those outside of pharmacy, I have no doubt you will continue to provide the incredible levels of service to your communities, and you do not need any encouragement to do so. But please do accept my heartfelt thank you for all that you are doing. I cannot put into words how proud I am of all our pharmacy teams in our footprint . We will get our communities through this, and the decision makers will simply have no choice but to accept, applaud, respect and value that Community Pharmacy was at the very heart of NHS services throughout this traumatic period, as it always has been before, and always will be in the future.
Lastly, I would just like to reassure you that Community Pharmacy Lancashire is working tirelessly behind the scenes to provide you with the support and guidance that you need, in what is a rapidly evolving challenge. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any specific query or concern, nothing is too big or small, we are all in this together.
Please do take care of yourselves and one another.
Community Pharmacy Lancashire
Below are a number of documents & posters to help you at this time
- Notification form for Unexpected Closure
- Checklist for Unplanned Closure
- Messages to give to patients
- Business Continuity Plan
- Door Poster – Do Not Enter
- Door Poster – Pharmacy Closed
- Door Poster – Restricted Opening
- Pharmacy Poster – Be Kind
- Pharmacy Poster – Patient Help
- Pharmacy Triage Leaflet
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for patients in 34 languages
- COVID 19 – UEC Directory of Services (DOS) Requesting DoS User Account (for Pharmacy) V2.2 – March 25th 2020
PSNC, working closely with NPA, CCA and AIM, has published guidance: https://psnc.org.uk/the-healthcare-landscape/covid19/network-resilience/ to help support and maintain the community pharmacy network during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are unprecedented times and exceptional measures may be required to ensure patient and public safety, as well as the safety and welfare of the pharmacy team. The joint guidance therefore considers the support needed for pharmacy staff to stay well at work, in the context of opening hours, during what are likely to be increasingly difficult and stressful times.
The guidance addresses three aspects of an NHS pharmacy’s terms of service – opening hours, responsible pharmacist and unplanned (emergency) closures – with advice given on how best to address each going forwards.
Find the guidance in PSNC’s network resilience page.
Change Grow Live
Information on coronavirus from Change Grow Live can be found on their website: https://www.changegrowlive.org/advice-info/coronavirus
Coronavirus: Guidance for Community Pharmacy contractors
What contractors and pharmacy teams can do now
Contractors and pharmacy teams can take the following actions to ensure they are well prepared:
- Read the NHSE&I guidance (see section below) and implement its recommended actions regarding preparing for COVID-19
- Clearly display the COVID-19 posters (see section below) at points of entry to your pharmacy and near the medicines counter
- Read your business continuity plan and consider whether it needs to be updated to reflect the current and emerging situation
- 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
- Where possible, display the public health advice posters on hand washing etc
Community pharmacies are advised to display TWO PHE posters so they are visible to people seeking to enter the premises (as of 11.03.20): https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101/resources/5015
Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Gloves, aprons and face masks should be ordered via normal wholesalers in small quantities. These supplies should be used only by pharmacy staff, and not sold to the public. Following discussion with PSNC, DHSC and NHSE&I have been working with Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that wholesalers’ stocks are replenished from the national PHE supplies. Free of charge packs of PPEs will also be sent to pharmacies later this week or early next week.
The guidance on use of PPE is still that it only needs to be used if you are entering a room in an emergency, where an infected/possibly infected patient is isolated and when decontaminating a room where such a patient has been present (in this case the PPE is to protect the worker from the cleaning products being used). As a consequence of this, the need for community pharmacies to have to use PPE, at this time, is low. Wherever possible, a patient presenting in the pharmacy with possible COVID-19 infection should be immediately told to return home and then access NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 (calling being a secondary option to online access) in order that the pharmacy does not have the increased risk of dealing with an isolated patient in the consultation room and the subsequent need for decontamination.
PSNC COVID 19
The PSNC COVID 19 page can be found at: https://psnc.org.uk/the-healthcare-landscape/covid19/
More useful links
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
- Key worker Guidance for schools and a template letter for staff to use can be downloaded here. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
- GOV.UK – For the latest government advice for health professionals. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/wuhan-novel-coronavirus
- GPHC – The latest news, including support and regulatory support can be accessed here. https://www.pharmacyregulation.org/news
- RPS – For news and support visit the RPS website https://www.rpharms.com/coronavirus