You’ll be our anchor, First Minister of Wales tells NPA members

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, and Wales’ Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Andrew Evans were among guests to gather at Cardiff Castle on Monday to celebrate the centenary of the National Pharmacy Association.

Mark Drakeford told the assembled NPA members:  “The word ‘community’ in community pharmacy means something. As well as being an essential clinical resource, community pharmacy is an economic driver.  As we rebuild after the pandemic, you will be one of the anchors that help maintain the vitality of local high streets.” He praised the work of pharmacy teams during the pandemic, saying: “You have been on the frontline of the extraordinary experience we’ve all been through. Without you we wouldn’t have got through this together… that’s why there is support for community pharmacy across the political spectrum in Wales.” Making a formal toast, Andrew Evans said: “We have ambitions for a reinvented community pharmacy service – one that is thoroughly modern but built around the values and behaviours that are intrinsic to independent community pharmacy. The NPA and its members will have an invaluable role in that future.” Health & Social Services Minister, Eluned Morgan, told guests, via a recorded video message, that the lessons of the pandemic will “help us further develop the role of pharmacies” and promised ongoing support. She looked forward to “a positive agreement [with Community Pharmacy Wales] later this financial year, which will reflect our shared ambition that every community pharmacy in Wales will provide an extended range of services, available consistently across the country.”…

Ask Your Pharmacist Week 2021

The next Ask Your Pharmacist Week will be 1-8 November.

  The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has announced that the next Ask Your Pharmacist (AYP) Week will take place from 1st – 8th November 2021. AYP Week provides a platform for pharmacy public awareness activities across the UK.  It also serves as a prompt for conversations with key stakeholders at a local level about community pharmacy services. During previous AYP Weeks: Pharmacies and NHS bodies have used social media and newspapers to signpost people to community pharmacy as the first port of call for common ailments Pharmacies have invited local dignitaries and politicians to visit for a health check and to learn more about the valuable services on offer NPA members have distributed leaflets about the range of services and skills in pharmacies, and appeared on radio talk shows Patient organisations and community groups have invited pharmacy staff to their meetings and webinars – to explain the evolving role of community pharmacy and how to make best use of local pharmacies. NPA Head of Communications, Stephen Fishwick, said: “The pandemic has given people a sense that pharmacies are capable of helping them in many ways that they, as patients, might not have previously imagined. Yet many people don’t know specifically what help is available in pharmacies, or how to access it.…

NHS flu service – Further details on the NHS flu immunisation programme 2021/22 and eligible groups

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) have provided further information on the NHS flu immunisation programme 2021/22

  The DHSC, PHE and NHSE&I have provided further information on the NHS flu immunisation programme 2021/22, following on from the first letter published by NHSE&I on 1April 2021.   In 2020/21, global influenza activity levels were low due to restrictions being in place for COVID-19. As a result, a lower level of population immunity against influenza is expected in 2021/22 as restrictions for COVID-19 are no longer in place. It is expected that seasonal influenza and other respiratory viruses will co-circulate with COVID-19 in the 2021/22 winter season. The modelling indicates the influenza season for 2021/22 could begin earlier than usual and may be up to 50 per cent larger and, therefore, the vaccination programme this winter will be a priority to reduce the pressure on health and social care.   Those eligible for a NHS flu vaccination in 2021/22 from a community pharmacy are: Children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021 Those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups Pregnant women People aged 50 years and over Those in long-stay residential care homes Carers Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals Frontline health and social care staff employed by: A registered residential care or nursing home A registered domiciliary care provider A voluntary managed hospice provider Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants. The letter also reinforces the Government’s expectation that all frontline health and social care workers should have an influenza vaccination to protect those they care for.…

Northern Ireland protocol: NPA calls for medicines deal

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today issued a fresh appeal to Brexit negotiators to reach an understanding that will allow manufacturers and suppliers to continue to supply medicines as normal to Northern Ireland.

Under the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, medicines made in UK have to be licensed separately for use in the country including separate safety inspections and other checks before they can be given to the public. It came into force on 1 January 2021, and is now part of international law. The NPA board discussed this issue during its board meetings on 28-29 June. NPA board representative for Northern Ireland, Michael Guerin, said: “This situation, if unresolved, will be intolerable for NPA members and patients in Northern Ireland. We are deeply concerned that the additional cost and complexity of getting medicines into Northern Ireland will result in some manufacturers and suppliers not bringing products to the market. This could result in reduced stock being available, leading to medicine shortages and an increase in the procurement costs. “The medicines supply to Northern Ireland is integrated into the UK market and works on a just in time basis. Close alignment of regulations would help to limit future disruption. We urge the EU and the UK to address this issue urgently and not leave it for patients, carers, pharmacists and GPs to pick up the problem further down the line.…

New health secretary committed to pharmacy, NPA conference told  

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) conference heard today (5 July) that Sajid Javid, the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, is committed to community pharmacy and has already had talks on the subject with Public Health Minister Jo Churchill.

Jo Churchill told the audience of independent pharmacy owners and health service stakeholders: “The new secretary of state and I have already had conversations about pharmacy and its value to the system, so I’m sure that commitment is there.  As a government, we are committed to the idea of community pharmacy as the first port of call for minor illnesses and having a key role at the heart of primary care and prevention.” “I believe you have an essential role as part of the NHS family and bring amazing value to local communities”, she added. During her 30-minute address, the Minister thanked pharmacies for going “above and beyond” during the pandemic. She said that she, Sajid Javid and his predecessor Matt Hancock were all grateful for the work of pharmacies in supplying vital medicines and keeping people safe. She expected the number of pharmacist-led Covid vaccination sites to go up “by hundreds”. The NPA conference continues online until Thursday. …

Pharmacy Minister backs new plan to beat COVID and rebuild NHS  

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today launched “a bold plan” for England’s community pharmacies to protect the population from COVID-19, improve access to primary care and prevent ill health.

Speaking at this week’s NPA conference, Public Health Minister Jo Churchill MP said she is “encouraged” by the plan and wants to see community pharmacy sitting at the heart of primary care. The plan, called How We Can Help, argues that pharmacies are well placed for a central role in delivering booster COVID-19 vaccinations, allowing GPs to focus on clearing the care backlog in the NHS. It highlights pharmacists’ strong face-to-face relationships with patients and years of experience delivering flu vaccines.  It also covers pharmacy’s broader potential in preventing ill health, managing long term conditions and providing access to care near to where people live, work and shop. NPA chair, Andrew Lane, said: “Today we’re launching the National Pharmacy Association’s bold plan to unleash the potential of community pharmacy in England. Provided there’s sufficient ongoing support from government and NHS, pharmacies can help get the country through the pandemic, help the NHS catch up on lost ground and be a foundation stone for better care in the future.  Pharmacies have been central to the NHS response to Covid throughout, and you can be sure that the end of lockdown won’t be the end of the story of our sector’s epic contribution.…

NHS Pandemic Delivery Service for those self-isolating has been further extended

The NHS Pandemic Delivery Service commissioning has been extended until the end of September 2021, for individuals notified by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) announced on 29 June 2021 that the Pandemic Delivery Service will be extended from 1 July 2021 until 23:59 on 30 September 2021. Community pharmacies, excluding distance selling pharmacies, can use this service to deliver prescription medicines and appliances to individuals during their ten day self-isolation period who provide their NHS Test and Trace account ID reference when requesting for the service; if alternative arrangements cannot be made. NHSE&I has noted that some pharmacy contractors are making claims on the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) platform for deliveries to clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients. These may have been made in error for self-isolating patients where the claim has been entered incorrectly on the MYS Pandemic Delivery Service claim form. Please note: The Pandemic Delivery Service can no longer be used to deliver prescription items for CEV patients – the provision for CEV patients ended on 31 March 2021, and any claims made on NHSBSA MYS platform for deliveries to CEV patients from July 2021 will not be processed Key points for pharmacy teams: All community pharmacies will receive payment under the Essential Service element Ensure a record of the individual’s NHS Test and Trace Account ID reference number is made and retained as part of effective record keeping and post-payment verification purposes – see service specification and guidance for more details Claims for delivering prescribed items to eligible patients under the Advanced Service element of the NHS Pandemic Delivery Service must be made no later than the fifth day of the following month in which deliveries were made via the MYS platform Where possible, a friend, relative, carer or volunteer should be asked to collect the medicines; the NHS Volunteer Responders Programme remains active and patients can contact them on 0808 196 3646 or pharmacies can make referrals via the referrers’ portal Individuals self-isolating as result of being notified by NHS Test and Trace will be able to get support from community pharmacies under the Pandemic Delivery Service provided all of the below requirements are met: Individual is in the ten day self-isolation period; patient is still eligible for the delivery service against their initial Test and Trace account ID reference, if they are asymptomatic at the start of the ten day self-isolation period but require to self-isolate longer (up to 20 days) because they develop symptoms or deemed as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace Individuals must provide their unique eight character NHS Test and Trace account ID reference Based on the GOV.UK…

PSNC announcement on covid costs: NPA response

Responding to PSNC’s announcement today that they have reached a deal with HM Government about Covid costs incurred by community pharmacies, NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette said: “It’s good that the government has finally listened to our repeated appeals for a decision about how Covid costs will be repaid to pharmacies in England.  We look forward to examining the fine print of these arrangements. “It shouldn’t have taken battle buses, petitions, newspaper campaigns and public protests by NPA members to get us to this point.  “We have persistently pressed the government in private and held them to account in public on this matter. “We also acknowledge the many MPs who have backed us in parliament, including the All Party Pharmacy Group. “This is no more than our members deserve – after all pharmacies bore Covid costs in good faith that they would be repaid, in the service of the nation. “It’s now really important that contractors claim all that is due to them within the July 5 – August 15 window.  The NPA will provide support and guidance to our members, most of whom do not have a big back-office to carry out the task of accounting for costs. “We’re pleased that the issue of Covid costs is at last being addressed, but attention must also be given to fixing the pharmacy contract in England, which remains seriously underfunded.”…

Hajj and Umrah advice 2021

New restrictions announced for pilgrims wanting to perform Hajj in 2021 – limited to 60,000 pilgrims already living in Saudi Arabia

  This year, the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj is expected to fall approximately between 17 July and 22 July 2021. The large crowds and mass gatherings at Hajj and Umrah present a number of associated health risks. This is particularly significant in the current climate with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, permission to perform Umrah was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Saudi authorities have gradually allowed a limited capacity of pilgrims to perform Umrah. The Saudi Press Agency issued an announcement from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah regarding Hajj 2021/1442AH on 12 June 2021. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, rites to perform Hajj would be limited to 60,000 pilgrims already living in Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims from outside Saudi Arabia would not be permitted to enter to perform Hajj in 2021. It should be noted that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential travel to Saudi Arabia.   Key points for pharmacy teams: Read the information in the links below for further details Advise individuals seeking information about Hajj and Umrah 2021/1442AH, are in line with the most up-to-date government guidelines   References and further reading: Travel Health Pro: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/news/586/hajj-1442ah-2021-updated-restrictions-announced UK: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/saudi-arabia/pilgrimage   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  …

Health Secretary predicts a ‘big shift’ towards community pharmacy in vaccine programmes

Chief Executive of the National Pharmacy Association, Mark Lyonette, shared a platform with Health Secretary Matt Hancock at a Sigma Pharmaceuticals webinar on Wednesday 23 June.

  During the event, Mr Hancock predicted a big role for community pharmacy in preventative care, including future flu and Covid vaccination programmes. He said he wants to talk to the NPA about “ideas to unleash the potential” of community pharmacy. Mr Hancock said: “I’m looking for a big shift in the vaccination programme towards delivery in pharmacy. I expect – as we do the booster programme and this winter’s flu – that we should move more and more of it to pharmacies.” This was because pharmacies had proved themselves capable of taking on such activity and because he wants to see GPs return to their “core role of practising medicine”. On the Health Bill and Integrated Care Systems, he said: “We are taking a population health-based approach; pharmacy is central to making that work because you’re so often the first port of all. Our goal is to make sure there is much more focus on, and reward for, preventative action. Prevention is better than cure and community pharmacy is at the heart of that vision.” Mark Lyonette praised the Health Secretary for his vision but highlighted the inconsistency with low levels of funding for the sector. “We are a can-do sector, but how can we get excited, and mobilise to deliver, given this contradiction?”…