Expectations grow for what pharmacies can deliver, but awareness of NHS services still limited, new NPA figures suggest.

According to an online survey carried out for the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) in October, a third of people (32%) are unaware that pharmacies offer flu jabs and four in ten (39%) don’t know pharmacies have consultation areas from which a range of NHS services are provided.

  The results have being released ahead of the NPA’s Ask Your Pharmacist public awareness campaign, which runs from 1-8 November. Only half the adult population (48%) know you can get advice on managing your weight at pharmacies, but 66% know that blood pressure monitoring is offered in some pharmacies. According to the survey, many people want pharmacies to play a greater role supporting people with mental health and in care homes (39% and 40% respectively). 45% see their local pharmacy as the “first port of call” for minor illnesses, compared to 27% saying their GP, 17% NHS111 and 6% A&E. NPA board member Reena Barai, who will be taking part in radio broadcasts for Ask Your Pharmacist Week, said today: “These figures show how much further we need to go to get the message across about the range of services on offer in community pharmacies.  Campaigns like Ask Your Pharmacist Week help ensure that people don’t miss out on the support available, which includes the several new NHS services coming on line in 2021.” In spite of the awareness figures on flu vaccinations, the number of people protected by pharmacies grew nearly fourfold between 2015/16 to 2020/21, according to figures recently released by the NHS Business Services Authority.…

NPA calls for a re-think on “disenfranchising” pharmacy representation vote

The steering group taking forward the Review of Pharmacy Representation in England has issued its plan for a voting process for the reform of PSNC and LPCs.

  The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) today called for a re-think. NPA chair, Andrew Lane, said: “There’s a clear case for changing the way pharmacy contractors are represented in England, especially in the light of emerging NHS structures at local level.  We need a system that works seamlessly from end to end – local to national. “However, if change is to be sustainable and legitimate, it must be widely supported across community pharmacy. The Review Steering Group has said that it is seeking to build a consensus for change, yet the Group’s proposed voting mechanism falls short of what is needed to guarantee a way forward that commands the support of the whole sector. “Under these proposals, a very small number of large pharmacy businesses could outvote thousands of independent contractors, effectively disenfranchising the independent sector. “The voices of independent contractors must be properly heard in this process, by getting the explicit consent of the independent sector through a fair vote”. The RSG plans to hold a single vote to approve (or not) the proposals for future contractor representation and support at both a national and local level. A two-thirds majority of all those casting a vote is required to approve the vote, with a ‘target voter turnout’ of 66% of the contractor base.…

NMS quarterly submission of data postponed

Requirement to submit completed NMS data summary to the NHSBSA has been postponed until January 2022

  The requirement to submit data summary for completed New Medicine Service (NMS) for July-September 2021 has been postponed for this quarter. In August 2021, it was announced that the requirement to submit data had been reinstated for quarter 2 (July-September 2021). However, the requirement has been postponed and pharmacy contractors will now not need to submit data until January 2022 for quarter 3 (Oct- Dec 2021). These changes were introduced to avoid complications for contractors when reporting their data due to the updated eligible NMS groups that commenced from 1 September 2021. The next quarter data submission will need to be completed within 10 working days from 31 December 2021 and pharmacy contractors are required to submit the information to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) on a quarterly basis going forward.   Key points for pharmacy teams Submission of NMS data to the NHSBSA can be done either by completing: The online form; only allows submission of data from a single pharmacy at a time The electronic reporting template; allows data from multiple pharmacy branches to be added to a single template Further information can be found on the NHSBSA website For any issues in the submission process, contact the NHSBSA via email on nmsmur@nhs.net…

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

Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service for individuals notified by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate extended until 31 March 2022

  NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) announced on 29 September 2021 that the Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service will be commissioned from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 for anyone living in England who has been notified by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate. 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. Pharmacy contractors can claim payment for the service under the Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service on the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal. Claims must be made by the fifth of the month after the service was provided. Claims made after this time will not be accepted.   Key points for pharmacy teams: 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 Individual provides their unique NHS Test and Trace account ID, which is an eight character mix of letters and numbers 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   Further reading: NHSE&I “Home delivery of medicines and appliances during the COVID-19 outbreak”: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/preparedness-letters-for-community-pharmacy/…

Goodbye Ellis Whittam, hello WorkNest

The providers of the NPA’s Employment Law and Health and Safety Advisory Service is changing its name, and adding new services.

By bringing Ellis Whittam, Law At Work and HRSP together under one name, WorkNest represents even greater expertise, can offer even more services, and is backed by even more powerful technology than ever before – enabling the NPA to further empower members, to manage all of their employment, safety and wellbeing challenges. Their new name, WorkNest, embodies our commitment to protecting members, nurturing them, and helping them to fly. This will enhance support to members, managing their risks across the compliance spectrum. The bespoke services offered will continue and importantly members can continue to access this valuable service will not change. They will continue to be responsive to members’ needs, developing strong outcomes and enable you to be compliant, confident and risk-aware. We know that change invites questions, so Worknest have pulled together a comprehensive FAQ that you can access here. It all starts on Monday 4th October.…

Changes to the NHS Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service (Pharmacy Collect

Amendments to the Service Specification for the NHS Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service have been made and will apply from 4 October 2021.

  Overview On 29 March 2021, a new Advanced Service, ‘NHS Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service (COVID-19 LFD Distribution Service)’, was commissioned to allow asymptomatic individuals to collect COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits from community pharmacies. The service is referred to the public as ‘Pharmacy Collect’ by NHS Test and Trace marketing and communications. The LFD test kits are provided free of charge to asymptomatic individuals to identify more people likely to spread the virus; therefore, breaking the chain of transmission.   The service has now been amended and a revised Service Specification is available to download from the NHS Business Services Authority website, which is applicable from 4 October 2021. The new changes allow NHS Test and Trace to increase traceability of test kits and identify more positive cases of COVID-19.   Key changes to the service from 4 October 2021 The table below provides details of the key changes to the service from 4 October 2021 with a comparison to what is currently in place.   Requirement until 4 October 2021 Key change from 4 October 2021 Maximum number of kits you can supply in one transaction is four. One pack of test kit can be supplied to the individual requesting it.…

Training available for OTC progestogen-only contraceptive pills

Details of the training available for healthcare professionals providing OTC progestogen-only contraceptive pills (Hana® and Lovima®) Progestogen-only contraceptive pills, Hana® and Lovima®, are now available to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) from pharmacies following reclassification from a Prescription Only Medicine (POM) to a Pharmacy medicine (P). Desogestrel is safe for most women to take and is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy in women of childbearing age. The availability of desogestrel OTC increases the accessibility of oral contraceptives for women. Online training is available for healthcare professionals providing Hana® and Lovima® OTC to be able to appropriately supply and advise on the use of these products.   Key points for pharmacy teams: Read and understand the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs) for Hana® and Lovima® Recommended online training for Hana® Interactive training guide: https://hanapharmacist.co.uk/training Recommended online training for Lovima® https://lovima.com/hcp/courses/lovima-training/ It is recommended that pharmacists use the checklists for Hana® or Lovima® available, in order to help determine suitability of these products for women requesting them in the pharmacy Hana® and Lovima® can be purchased OTC from pharmacies; however, desogestrel is still available free-of-charge on a NHS prescription, or through locally commissioned services, or sexual health clinics   Further reading: MHRA First progestogen-only contraceptive pills to be available to purchase from pharmacies : https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-progesterone-only-contraceptive-pills-to-be-available-to-purchase-from-pharmacies…

NHS Scotland Community Pharmacy Public Health Bridging Contraception Service

From the 9th November community pharmacists in Scotland will be able to provide a three month supply of desogestrel 75mcg

  The Directions of the Pharmaceutical Services (Public Health Service) (Scotland) have been amended to include supply of three months desogestrel 75mcg tablets. The aim of the service detailed in PCA (P) (2021) 12  is to reduce unplanned pregnancies, enabling time for women to contact their doctor to arrange long term contraception The three month supply of desogestrel can be made by the pharmacist as part of the Emergency Hormonal Contraception Service or in response to a request for contraception from women aged over 13 years and under 55 years at risk of pregnancy registered with a Scottish GP practice. One further three month supply can be provided in exceptional circumstances if another contraception supply has not been arranged. The patient group direction authorises the supply and the patient assessment form provided gathers patient history to identify PGD criteria. Consent will be requested to contact the women’s GP. Each NHS Health Board will require pharmacist return of the PGD for their area as usual. Payment is £30 per consultation, whether supply, no supply, or referral as detailed in NHS Circular PCA (P)(2021) 5 Training is available from NES.   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…

NHS leaders aim to step up community pharmacy engagement

A new report looking at how community pharmacy will work as part of Integrated Care Systems (ICS) lists seven requirements to help bring the best out of the sector.

  Co-authored by the NHS Confederation, the National Pharmacy Association and the Primary Care Pharmacy Association, the report highlights the key themes of a roundtable discussion in July, involving primary care networks, primary care federations and other stakeholders in local systems. Dr Graham Jackson, GP and Senior Clinical Advisor at the NHS Confederation chaired the discussion. He said today: “It is critical that all available clinical capacity is used effectively. Our report examines the opportunities of collaboration with community pharmacy and identifies key enablers available to local systems, as well as addressing barriers.” “We urge PCN clinical directors, primary care federation leaders and others locally to support community pharmacists to navigate the emerging NHS structures and thoroughly consider what pharmacies can bring to the table in terms of urgent care, public health, medicines optimisation and more.” Andrew Lane, NPA chair said: “The covid-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on the value of working collaboratively across systems. Community pharmacy can deliver most as an integral part of the system rather than being seen as an adjunct to the main action. The sector has an important role to play as a full partner within PCNs, with primary care federations and Integrated Care systems.…

National Pharmacy Association responds to overprescribing review

The clinical skills of all pharmacists should be used to tackle the overprescribing of medication, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has said, in response to a major government-commissioned review into the issue.

Led by Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England Dr Keith Ridge, the report found 10 per cent of the volume of prescription items dispensed through primary care in England are either inappropriate for that patients’ circumstances and wishes, or could be better served with alternative treatments. Nick Kaye, Vice Chair at the National Pharmacy Association said:  “This is a highly significant report.  Medicines are the single most widespread healthcare intervention, so it’s vital that their use is optimised, to help patients and to ensure value for money for the NHS. “Community pharmacists could play an increasingly important role in ensuring effective prescribing, for example through Structured Medication Reviews and as independent prescribers. That will improve patients’ access to advice and deploy the expertise of pharmacists to good effect. The clinical skills of all pharmacists, not just those working in GP practices, need to be brought to bear further on this important agenda. “On the flip side of overprescribing is the matter of helping patients get the most from their medicines once dispensed, which is the bread and butter of community pharmacy.  New services like the Discharge Medicines Service and the extended New Medicine Service build on this role significantly.  “In implementing the report’s recommendations, the principle of shared decision-making will be very important, so that the focus is always on getting the best from medicines and never on denying access to medicines, which serves to exacerbate health inequalities.”…