Your Advice and Support Roundup

For all the latest important updates on key hot topics and NPA guidance and resources, claiming payments and deadline reminders, see our advice and support roundup for NPA members.

NPA Advice and Support monthly roundup: March 2022…

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…

Supporting the nation with medicines and advice: open letter from pharmacy leaders to patients and customers

UK pharmacy leaders have today (16 March) issued an open letter to customers, asking them to act in the interests of the whole community by helping pharmacies maintain vital services including medicines supply, in the light of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The letter highlights that pharmacies across the United Kingdom are working hard to provide their regular services, including the safe supply of medicines, while also meeting significantly increased demand for advice on preventing coronavirus. It asks patients, customers and the wider public to follow a number of guidelines: Act responsibly by not entering a pharmacy if you have symptoms of infection, such as a cough or fever. Please ask friends or family who are symptom-free to collect essential medicines for you. Only buy the medicines and supplies that you need right now to treat you and your family. Follow any instructions from our pharmacists and pharmacy teams. Treat our pharmacy teams in the way that you would wish to be treated yourself. Keep up to date with the latest online advice from the NHS. Image reproduced from – ITV You may have seen Mark Lyonette, NPA Chief Executive, speaking on ITV news about an open letter that has been issued from pharmacy leaders (NPA and CCA). It asks patients, customers and the wider public to follow a number of guidelines including: not entering a pharmacy if you have symptoms of infection, such as a cough or fever; asking friends or family who are symptom-free to collect essential medicines for you; and only buying the medicines and supplies that you need right now to treat you and your family.…

NPA medication safety update (MSO report) Quarter 3 2019 (England)

Superintendent update on the MSO Quarterly report (July-September 2019)

The NPA is pleased to publish its third medication safety update / Medication Safety Officer’s (MSO) report on patient safety incidents covering the third quarter of 2019 (Q3). The full update can be accessed here. NPA’s MSO role The NPA holds the role of Medication Safety officer (MSO) for all independent community pharmacies in England with fewer than 50 branches. The NPA’s MSO role was established when the Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Stage Three: Directive Improving medication error incident reporting and learning alert (NHS/PSA/D/2014/005) was issued in March 2014, and has continued since. If you operate an independent community pharmacy, and there are fewer than 50 branches in your pharmacy chain, then the NPA is your MSO. Jasmine Shah, NPA Head of Advice and Support Services, currently holds the role of MSO at the NPA. As part of this role, we are working together with the wider pharmacy sector on the patient safety agenda, and in particular we look forward to playing our full part in the work of the sector-wide Patient Safety Group. New style report This MSO report improves upon the previous publications and covers current hot topics in patient safety including the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS), a focus on insulin and valproate, isotretinoin, sepsis, supplying medicines online, and the introduction of Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC).…
Archived on 17 December 2021 – this content has expired.

The Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group has launched a medicines safety audit guidance resource to support the patient safety domain in the PQS (England)

The cross-sector Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group has launched a medicines safety audit guidance resource to support the patient safety domain in the Pharmacy Quality Scheme

The cross-sector Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group, has worked to develop a new medicines safety audit guidance resource. This aims to provide guidance for pharmacy contractors on how to complete the medicines safety audits; these make up part of the patient safety component of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) 2019/2020. Pharmacy contractors are required to complete 3 audits prior to making their declaration. It is recommended that contractors start the audits as early as possible to minimise the risk of missing the deadline for making their PQS declarations. Please note that the declaration window for PQS opens at 9am on 3 February 2020 and closes at 11:59pm on 28 February 2020. Audit Audit period Final date to start the audit Lithium audit (or, in the following order of preference a methotrexate/ amiodarone/ phenobarbital audit where the pharmacy has not dispensed lithium for any patients  within the last 3 months) 3 consecutive months Friday 29 November 2019 Valproate audit 3 consecutive months Friday 29 November 2019 Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) audit Two weeks (provided a minimum sample size of 10 patients is achieved. If this is not achieved the audit should be extended to a four week period) Saturday 1 February 2020* * The NPA Pharmacy Services team advises pharmacy contractors to start the audit by 20 January 2020 to allow for any eventualities in not achieving the required sample size The medicines safety audit guidance resource can be found here.…

IMPORTANT: Patient safety update for owners / superintendent pharmacists providing online pharmacy services including those linked to online prescribing services

Patient safety update for owners / superintendent pharmacists that are providing online pharmacy services including those linked to online prescribing service

Please note that this update is intended for pharmacies regulated and inspected by the GPhC in England, Scotland and Wales. Pharmacies in Northern Ireland are included in this update for information purposes – you are advised to review your pharmacy service models in line with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) standards and guidance. During the last two weeks, pharmacies providing online pharmacy services, including those linked to online prescribing services have come under increased scrutiny from both the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and the media, especially due to concerns about inappropriate prescribing and supply of opioids. You may also be aware that “The Times” newspaper published three articles on Saturday 28 September 2019 on online prescribing and supply of opioids from online pharmacies. The articles also covered the recent action taken by the GPhC against online pharmacies who have been identified as supplying high-risk medicines without proper checks. In April 2019, the GPhC published its updated guidance for pharmacy owners providing pharmacy services at a distance, including on the internet. The guidance made it clear that some categories of medicines, including opioids, are not suitable to be supplied online unless further safeguards have been put in place to ensure they are clinically appropriate for patients.…

MUR template SOP with updated target requirements launched (England)

Superintendent update to announce the launch of the MUR template SOP with updated target requirements

There has been a recent change to the target patient groups for Medicines Use Review (MUR) Advanced Service effective from 1 October 2019. This means that, from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020, 70% of all MURs carried out must be within two target groups: Patients taking at least one high-risk medicine — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anticoagulants (including low molecular weight heparin), antiplatelets, diuretics Post-discharge MURs — patients taking two or more medicines who have been recently discharged from hospital and have had changes made to their medicines whilst they were in hospital From 1 October 2019, the following are no longer target groups for MURs: Patients with respiratory disease Patients at risk of/diagnosed with cardiovascular disease who are regularly being prescribed at least four medicines To support you and your teams in implementing this change, the NPA has produced an updated template standard operating procedure (SOP) for provision of the MUR Advanced Service. We strongly encourage you to update your SOP in line with the above changes if your pharmacy is providing MURs – you may find our updated template SOP useful for this. Changes to the MUR Advanced Service Please note that the total number of MURs each contractor can deliver from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 (2019/20) is 250; however, no more than 200 MURs can be provided in the first half of 2019/20 (i.e.…
Archived on 6 September 2021 – this content has expired.

NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) – draft service specification and registration launched (England only)

Superintendent update announcing the launch of the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) draft service specification and registration

Dear Superintendent The new national NHS Advanced Service, the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS) will go live from 29 October 2019. We encourage you to engage with, register, and deliver the CPCS when it goes live. On 1 September 2019, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) published the draft service specification for the CPCS via a link on the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/pharmacies-gp-practices-and-appliance-contractors/dispensing-contractors-information/nhs-community. Registration to provide the CPCS also opened from 1 September 2019 through the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) portal; you will need to register to use the MYS portal. Pharmacy groups who wish to register multiple pharmacies at the same time should contact the NHSBSA by email nhsbsa.mys@nhs.net. A self-assessment framework to support pharmacists, highlighting the key competencies required to provide the CPCS, is available from Monday 2 September 2019. An NHS CPCS toolkit will follow shortly. Transitional payments Pharmacies will receive a transitional payment depending on when you register to provide the CPCS: Register between 1 September 2019 and 11.59pm on 1 December 2019 — you will receive a transition payment of £900. Register between 2 December 2019 and 11.59pm on 15 January 2020 — you will receive a transition payment of £600. Register after 16 January 2020 — you will not receive transition payment.…

Medicines Safety Officer (MSO) update Quarter 2 2019

Superintendent update on the MSO Quarterly report (April-June 2019)

Dear colleague, I am pleased to publish my Medication Safety Officer’s (MSO) report for Quarter 2 (Q2) of 2019, please click here to download https://www.npa.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/MSO-report-Q2-of-2019.pdf. In this report, I have included important patient safety updates, and an analysis/summary of the most common patient safety incidents reported to us during the quarter. There was a 19% decrease in the total number of patient safety incidents reported in Q2 of 2019 compared to Quarter 1 (Q1) of 2019. The review point for the Quality Payments Scheme was in February 2019 and there were a particularly high number of reports received during this month. This may have contributed to the decrease in reporting seen between the quarters. Summary of MSO report analysis for Quarter 2 of 2019 Origin of patient safety incidents Of the incidents reported during Q2, 95% occurred in the pharmacy. Only 2% of errors reported were prescribing errors – this is a 3% decrease from Q1. One example where a pharmacist’s clinical check identified a prescribing error and prevented patient harm involved a pharmacist querying the suitability of topical clobetasol prescribed for a young child. This is considered to be a very potent steroid. It transpired that it was prescribed as an alternative to clobetasone cream (a steroid of moderate potency) which was out of stock at that time.…
Archived on 31 July 2020 – this content has expired.

Distance selling pharmacies, electronic prescribing, FMD – are you looking for clarity? (UK)

Distance selling pharmacies, electronic prescribing, FMD – are you looking for clarity? (UK) - superintendent update

I would like to draw your attention to some controversial areas of pharmacy practice which have been highlighted by the increasingly complex queries being presented to my team. I recently had the pleasure of meeting with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) senior policy advisors who were able to provide me with substantial clarity on a number of topics which I would like to share with you in this update. Distance selling pharmacies One of MHRA’s primary concerns relates to the vast increase in the number of websites selling medicines illegally. We discussed the term “online pharmacies” – this can cause confusion. As we are aware, registered pharmacies can trade online (but as a registered pharmacy, must have a physical presence). The majority of medicines supplied illegally are sourced from illegally trading websites that have no medical or pharmacy professional oversight (and are not pharmacies). I would like to remind you that all UK pharmacies, including those providing internet services, must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), or Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI); substantial guidance for providing internet services is available from both regulatory bodies. An online supplier of medicines  ( including registered  pharmacies  must also be registered with the MHRA and display the European common logo on every website page where medicines are offered for sale to the public.…