New plan for Health MOTs: National Pharmacy Association response

NHS England has announced that there will be ‘Health MOTs’ at NHS vaccination services, pharmacies and clinics this autumn

The NHS will offer a range of targeted tests including blood pressure, heart rhythm and cholesterol checks when people drop in for top-up Covid jabs or flu vaccinations. Further details are awaited. NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette, said: “We don’t yet have the details, but it makes sense for pharmacies to be part of any new initiatives to monitor heart health and cholesterol, given how accessible they are and their proven track record in preventative care. “It looks like a chance to identify underlying health problems which may have been missed during the coronavirus lockdown, and highlights the important role pharmacies will have in the nation’s post-pandemic reset. “We hope it’s not a one-off scheme limited to a select few pharmacies, but something that can be scaled to turbo-charge access to cardiac support through community pharmacy. “Given the magnificent contribution of pharmacies throughout the coronavirus pandemic, it’s natural that they should be seen as a solution in other areas of prevention and public health too.” The announcement was made by NHS England’s Chief Operating Officer, Amanda Pritchard, at the NHS Confederation conference this week.…

Job security during the pandemic: working in community pharmacy as a kickstarter

Since the government began its Kickstart Scheme back in September 2020 community pharmacies have been stepping up to fill as many work placements as they can.

  The backdrop before the launch of Kickstart was grim – the nation faced one of the worst unemployment rates in history and many sectors faced a workforce shortage due to staff having to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19. While the Chancellor’s furlough scheme was trying to keep workers afloat, the Kickstart Scheme became a means to enable young people, at risk of long term unemployment, get on the job ladder. Guided by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and recruitment agency Reed, hundreds of young Kickstarters are working in community pharmacies across the country with many more waiting to start. Victoria Duricic-Moutrey is just one of those. The 23-year-old, who is currently doing a placement at Clarke Pharmacy in South-West London, finished a degree in Biomedical Science in Chester last year before moving to the capital. “I’ve been trying to apply for jobs for five months and it was impossible,” she says. “I was applying for lab assistant jobs because that’s what I wanted to do but for some reason it’s so difficult to even land an interview.” Victoria applied for the kickstart scheme via her university. “They asked if there was anything else I’d be interested in doing for the mean time because I’ve been getting nowhere with applying for lab assistant jobs,” she explains.” “So I said anything science based would be good.…

International travel restrictions lifted in England from Monday 17 May 2021

Certain rules will be put in place for travellers to adhere to when travelling abroad. Key points for pharmacy teams are discussed when advising such customers.

The Government has decided that international travel can resume from Monday 17 May 2021 for people in England. A three-tier traffic light system, with countries classified into three categories – green, amber and red will be put in place. The traffic light system will determine the rules that are required to be followed when travellers return to England from the destination they have visited. The full list of countries in each category is available on GOV.UK. Furthermore, people in England who have received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine will be able to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status from Monday 17 May 2021 and access this status when travelling abroad. This can be via the NHS App or by calling the NHS helpline on 119, to request a letter proving vaccination status. People should not approach their GP surgeries regarding their COVID-19 vaccination status and GPs are not able to provide letters containing this information. Other changes to lockdown restrictions that will take effect from Monday 17 May 2021 can be found here. Key points for pharmacy teams Potential travellers should be advised to read the following advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) before they travel and to sign up for an email alert to ensure they are up to date with current advice: FCDO Travel abroad and coronavirus (COVID-19) Country-specific travel advice Review up-to-date information from TravelHealthPro in relation to travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic Advise the traveller to be aware that other countries may have different advice to the UK in relation to COVID-19 testing, quarantine and social distancing Advise travellers that countries are rated as red, amber or green for COVID-19 and they must follow the rules that apply for each category when they return to England Advise potential travellers to register for the free NHS App so they can access their COVID-19 vaccination status or call the NHS helpline on 119 to request a COVID-19 vaccination letter Advise potential travellers to check whether the country or territory they are travelling to requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry Currently, proof of vaccination is not accepted by many countries The rules the potential traveller must follow are dependent on whether the country they are returning from is rated as red, amber or green – further information can be found on UK website Advise the potential traveller that changes in conditions can result in countries and territories moving between categories and therefore, it is important to stay up-to-date with any changes Travellers are still required to have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test before they return to the UK and take COVID-19 tests on their return; this also applies to those who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 The private Test To Release Scheme will allow travellers arriving into England from the amber list countries or territories to have the option of taking a private COVID-19 test to potentially reduce the quarantine period Advise potential travellers on travel vaccine and malaria chemoprophylaxis requirements Refer to the “NPA Malaria prophylaxis information” leaflet for country-specific malaria recommendations The contents of the NPA malaria prophylaxis information leaflet should not be used for clinical decision making when following and supplying through Patient Group Directions Contact the Pharmacy Services team by telephone on 01727891800 or email pharmacyservices@npa.co.uk…

Mayor of London in awe of community pharmacy

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has described community pharmacy teams as “unsung heroes” during the pandemic and said it was in the interests of government to inject more funding into the sector.

The comments were made during a In Conversation with Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London event organised by the Asian Media Group and Eastern Eye newspaper on Thursday (29 April). NPA chief executive, Mark Lyonette asked the Mayor, “Would the Mayor like to take this opportunity to thank the capital’s 1800 community pharmacy teams for staying open throughout the pandemic, thereby keeping the wheels on the NHS and maintaining access to advice, medicines and vaccines?” Mr Khan responded that he was “in awe and grateful for our pharmacy teams across London” and described them as “unsung heroes.” “I’ve been to pharmacies in many occasions over the last few weeks and months, not least receiving my flu jab. I have asthma so I go to a pharmacy regularly. Many people couldn’t go see their GP, they couldn’t get an appointment they didn’t have the confidence to use technology. The human beings that were available, that were the experts, were pharmacists. “I’m so in awe and grateful of pharmacies across our city. Many of them are small independent family businesses and they have shown the public how brilliant they are.” Jignesh Patel, from Rohpharm pharmacy in Newham, asked the Mayor about pharmacy funding. The Mayor responded that there is a strong economic case for investment in pharmacies and that London needs a strong network of pharmacies to help handle the next pandemic, when it comes.…

Mark Lyonette, NPA CE writes to Leaders of main Scottish political parties before the Scottish Parliamentary elections on 6th May


Mark Lyonette, NPA CE wrote to Nicola Sturgeon, Leader for the SNP, Douglas Ross, Scottish Leader for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and Anas Sarwar, Leader of Scottish Labour to highlight areas of their party manifesto with potential impact on the network of community pharmacies across Scotland

  Parliamentary elections are an ideal time to engage with national and local politicians to increase their understanding of independent community pharmacy, hold them to account to the claims in each party manifesto and highlight future Government potential impact on the network of community pharmacies in Scotland. Pre election candidates and newly elected parliamentary members are generally keen to demonstrate responsiveness to their constituents. The NPA have written to the leaders of the main Scottish political parties to highlight the manifesto statements and key asks for community pharmacy aligned to the Community Pharmacy Scotland manifesto. Read the NPA letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of the Scottish National Party Read the NPA letter to Douglas Ross, Leader of Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party Read the NPA letter to Anas Sarwar, Leader of Scottish Labour Party Please also consider contacting your local election candidates or newly elected MSPs to ensure community pharmacy is continued to be supported and developed in future Scottish governments. Inviting candidates or newly elected constituents to visit you in your pharmacy gives them a great photo opportunity of engagement in their constituency and enables them to understand how your team are a vital asset to patients and the NHS.…

Natural justice demands repayment of Covid costs, says NPA, as annual contract negotiations begin

  The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee announced today that formal tripartite negotiations on the arrangements for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) in 2021/22 have begun. They also confirmed that there is still no resolution on the extra costs borne by pharmacies in England to operate during the pandemic. NPA chair, Andrew Lane, said: “It is massively disappointing that pharmacies are still waiting for a resolution on Covid costs. The Prime Minister’s warm words about the heroics of pharmacy teams during the pandemic will sound very hollow unless he keeps his promise to reimburse pharmacies for the costs they have incurred to keep vital services running. “Community pharmacies have kept their side of the bargain – staying open to keep people well, save lives and help the country out of lockdown.  In so serving the nation, pharmacies have incurred considerable extra costs that natural justice demands to be repaid. “The NHS would not have been able to cope over the past 12 months without an accessible network of pharmacies near to where people live, work and shop. “We need this sorted quickly, to avoid a collapse in morale and the acceleration of pharmacy closures.” The negotiations announced today are between PSNC and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I).  …

Pharmacy funding petition leaps to 89,000 following protests in key constituencies

Thousands more people have signed a petition calling on the government to recompense pharmacies for the extra costs they have incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, following protests by National Pharmacy Association members in the parliamentary constituency of chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Over 88,600 people have now signed the petition, up from approximately 50,000 three weeks ago when NPA members began campaigning in the constituencies of the Chancellor, Prime Minister, Health Secretary and other key ministers. The petition, launched in December and backed by grassroots campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, highlights that many independent pharmacies are in deficit and calls on the government to keep its promises to support the sector. NPA Chair, Andrew Lane, said: “Recent campaigning by NPA members in key constituencies has given fresh impetus to the petition. Patients and citizens are taking the opportunity to have their say on a matter of great significance to their daily lives – the viability of their local pharmacies and the future of vital NHS services.” The NPA is also asking pharmacists, their families and others working in and around the sector to sign the petition. Anyone wishing to do so should go to https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-local-pharmacies-2 The petition reads:   For months, pharmacy teams across the UK have been working without respite on the NHS frontline, playing a vital role in the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and helping reduce the pressure on GPs and A&Es. But the government hasn’t done enough to give community pharmacies the money they need to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.…

Sulfasalazine gastro-resistant (g/r) and immediate release tablets 500mg stock shortages

Pharmacies reporting issues on obtaining sulfasalazine gastro-resistant (g/r) and immediate release tablets 500mg from wholesalers

We have recently been made aware of a number of pharmacies unable to obtain sulfasalazine gastro-resistant (g/r) and immediate release tablets 500mg from their wholesalers. Please see information below.   Advice for pharmacy teams: Genesis Pharmaceuticals Ltd has advised that their products, sulfasalazine g/r and immediate release tablets, 500mg, in pack sizes of 112 are currently in stock; distributed by AAH, Alliance and Phoenix Rosemont Pharmaceuticals Ltd has advised that their product, sulfasalazine oral suspension sugar free 250mg/5ml is currently in stock and distributed by AAH, Alliance and Phoenix There is currently a Serious Shortage Protocol (SSP) for Salazopyrin EN-Tabs 500mg(SSP008) scheduled to expire on Monday 8 March 2021; however, this can be amended or revoked at any time. Further information can be found here Pharmacies experiencing difficulties obtaining sulfasalazine g/r and immediate release tablets 500mg should report this via the Shortage Reporting Form on the PSNC website In circumstances where prescriptions cannot be fulfilled due to product unavailability, under the SSP requirements, pharmacy teams should signpost patients back to their prescriber for alternative 5-aminosalicylates to be prescribed, if appropriate   References and further reading: NHSBSA: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/pharmacies-gp-practices-and-appliance-contractors/serious-shortage-protocols-ssps 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…

NPA partners with Medicspot to allow members to sell Covid-19 PCR tests

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has partnered with healthcare company Medicspot to enable its pharmacy members to sell Covid-19 PCR test kits.

Following new Public Health England guidance issued in February, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has removed its blanket prohibition on Covid testing in pharmacies and the sale of Covid test kits by pharmacies.  Pharmacies selling Covid-19 PCR test kits in England are now required to self-declare to the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) to become a private Covid-19 testing provider. The new guidelines clarify the minimum standards pharmacies are expected to meet when selling Covid tests to organisations or members of the public. Dr Zubair Ahmed, CEO of Medicspot, said: “There had been a lot of confusion in community pharmacy on what pharmacies were and were not allowed to do. This clarification will be a bonus for many pharmacies who wish to provide private Covid-19 testing services for their communities.”  The list of requirements needed for DHSC approval includes the need for a designated clinical or medical director, a rigid procedure for reporting test results and clear governance and lines of accountability. In line with these guidelines, Medicspot provides an end-to-end service to manage the bulk of these requirements; giving pharmacies the ability to sell Covid-19 PCR test kits whilst meeting their governance obligations. Medicspot has developed a support tool to help NPA pharmacies that sell their testing kits to self-declare with DHSC.…

Paper Drug Tariff print ends March 2021 in England

The Drug Tariff for March 2021 will be the final paper copy to be circulated to pharmacies in England

In line with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) commitment to digital transformation and the NHS Long Term plan, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced the Drug Tariff (DT) will no longer be printed from April 2021. The final paper document will be circulated to pharmacies in March 2021 and it will continue to be published online on a monthly basis, accessible via the NHSBSA website. Key points for pharmacy teams in England The electronic and PDF versions of the DT are available on the NHSBSA website A link to the PDF version of the DT will continue to be sent to pharmacy contractors with a registered email address with the NHSBSA NHSBSA will contact contractors to validate the email addresses before the final paper document is ceased Contact the NHSBSA via drugtariff@nhs.net for any issues in receiving the link or to request an additional email address to be added to the circulation list Pharmacy teams are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the digital versions prior to the change Reference NHSBSA: End of the paper Drug Tariff in England: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/end-paper-drug-tariff-england 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…