Coventry LPC

Coronavirus Advice (Covid-19)

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Government/NHS Advice

Guidance for Health Professionals

Guidance on PPE

Guide for Social Distancing

SOP for Pharmacies (2.0)

Community Pharmacy Webinar

National Pharmacy Letters

Update #1 (March 9)

Update #2 (March 19)

Update #3 (March 31)

PSNC Guidance

PSNC COVID-19 Main Page

Network Resilience

Frequently Asked Questions

Covid-19 Daily Updates Archive

LPC Guidance

Covid-19 Update (March 10)

Covid-19 Update (March 20)

Covid-19 Update (March 26)

Covid-19 Update (April 02)

Prioritising Grid and Action Plan

PharmOutcomes

Operational Status Reporting

PHE Resources

PHE Display Resources

PHE Printable A4 poster

PHE Covid-19 Tracker

PHE Blog

Other Useful Links

RPS Covid-19 Page

RPS Covid-19 Downloads

NPA Covid-19 Page

GPhC Covid-19 Page

The Pharmaceutical Journal

Business Continuity

PSNC Business Continuity Page

Service Continuity Planning

Flu Pandemic Continuity Planning

CCA/NPA Planning Guidance

Training Resources

e-LfH Courses

CPPE: Returning to Practice

Virtual Outcomes Training

Buttercups: Pandemic Training

The situation around the new coronavirus (Covid-19) is rapidly evolving.  The UK population is currently in a three-week lock-down in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Pharmacies are urged to read the available guidance carefully, keep up-to-date with developments and adjust their business continuity plans accordingly.

We will update this page as new information becomes available. You can find the current NHS public advice regarding Covid-19 on the following LINK. For the latest Covid-19 pharmacy news, click on the slider button below.



Covid-19 Latest News Slider



Frequently Asked Questions and Additional Support


  • What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?
  • How does this new coronavirus spread?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?
  • What’s the best way to wash your hands?
  • Should people wear face masks to protect themselves from infection?
  • What social distancing measures should be observed?
  • How can I best prepare my pharmacy staff to deal with Covid-19?
  • What is the Standard Operating Procedure for Community Pharmacies?
  • What shall I do if a patient presents in my pharmacy with Covid-19 symptoms?
  • Do pharmacy staff need to wear protective equipment?
  • Where can I get public information posters for the pharmacy?
  • How can I contact my local PHE Health Protection Team (HPT)?
  • How do I update my Business Continuity Plans?
  • What if I have to close my pharmacy due to contamination or shortage of staff?
  • Can I close my pharmacy to the public for a few hours each day to catch up on work?
  • What measures have been taken to help community pharmacies through the Covid-19 crisis?
  • Are pharmacy staff on the government’s Key Workers list?
  • How does the Coronavirus crisis impact locally commissioned services?
  • What is the ‘vulnerability flag’ in Summary Care Records?
  • What financial support is available to pharmacies?
  • How can pharmacy staff get tested for Covid-19?
  • More FAQs
What are the symptoms of the new coronavirus?

The symptoms of this new coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

source: PHE

How does this new coronavirus spread?

Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets. These droplets fall on people in the vicinity and can be directly inhaled or picked up on the hands and transferred when someone touches their face.

How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors; for example:

  • what surface the virus is on
  • whether it is exposed to sunlight
  • differences in temperature and humidity
  • exposure to cleaning products

Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so by 48 hours.

source: PHE

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?

There are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

source: PHE

What’s the best way to wash your hands?

The best way to wash your hands is with soap and hot water for 20 seconds, around the same length of time as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. Follow the guidance below:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/best-way-to-wash-your-hands/

Should people wear face masks to protect themselves from infection?

Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings. Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly and disposed of safely in order to be effective.

The best way to protect ourselves from infections like coronavirus is to wash our hands frequently with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel, as well as always carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, then putting the tissue in a bin.

source: PHE

What social distancing measures should be observed?

We should all be taking social distancing measures to reduce social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

PHE guidance for social distancing

How can I best prepare my pharmacy staff to deal with Covid-19?

Contractors and pharmacy teams can take the following actions to ensure they are well prepared:

  1. Read the NHSE&I guidance and implement its recommended actions regarding preparing for COVID-19;
  2. Clearly display the COVID-19 posters at points of entry to your pharmacy and near the medicines counter;
  3. Read your business continuity plan and consider whether it needs to be updated to reflect the current and emerging situation;
  4. 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.
What is the Standard Operating Procedure for Community Pharmacies?

The NHS has recently issued a SOP for community pharmacies to manage the coronavirus crisis.

You can read version 2.0 published on 22nd March HERE.

Any updates to this procedure will be posted on the following PAGE.

What shall I do if a patient presents in my pharmacy with Covid-19 symptoms?

Patients should not be presenting in community pharmacies if they have COVID-19 symptoms as they have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days.  Anyone who has case definition symptoms should be advised to go home and self-isolate. If they need advice, they should use NHS 111 preferably online. Pharmacies should manage the risk of cross-infection to staff/patients as normal for infectious diseases.

Pages 7-8 of the Pharmacy SOP document provide more detailed advice.

Do pharmacy staff need to wear protective equipment?

Official advice on the use of PPE has recently been updated. Find out more here:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/guidance-supply-use-of-ppe/

T3_Recommended_PPE_for_ambulance_staff_paramedics_first_responders_and_pharmacists_poster

Recommended PPE to be used by healthcare workers within one metre of a patient with possible or confirmed COVID-19 including staff working in hospitals, primary care, ambulance trusts, community care settings, care homes:
• fluid repellent facemask
• apron
• gloves
• eye protection if there is a risk of splashing or exposure to respiratory droplets.

Pharmacy contractors have reported that PPE, particularly face masks, are currently difficult to source. HM Government is aware of this and they are taking steps to ensure that face masks will be available to order from pharmacy wholesalers, so contractors can obtain supplies for use by staff in the above circumstances.

Where can I get public information posters for the pharmacy?

March 19 Update: Following a change in the case definition, to remove the link to travel history or contact with confirmed cases, community pharmacies are now advised to display a new PHE poster.

This poster, along with other resources, can be downloaded from the PHE campaign resources hub in a zip file.

Previously issued posters should be removed.

You can download the print-friendly A4 and A3 posters directly from the following links:

A4 Poster: NHS Facilities Poster Print Friendly A4 17Mar20

A3 Poster: NHS Facilities Poster Print Friendly A3 17Mar20

How can I contact my local PHE Health Protection Team (HPT)?

Contact details of the HPT for Coventry are as follows:

West Midlands East HPT

Public Health England
5 St Philip’s Place
Birmingham
B3 2PW

How do I update my Business Continuity Plans?

All businesses and NHS providers, including community pharmacy contractors, need to have an ability to cope with emergency situations, so that wherever possible, they can continue to provide services to patients and the public. The following page contains guidance and resources to support business continuity planning and operations during emergencies, such as pandemic flu.

https://psnc.org.uk/contract-it/essential-service-clinical-governance/emergency-planning/

What if I have to close my pharmacy due to contamination or shortage of staff?

In case of any emergency closure, complete the “Unplanned Temporary Suspension of Services” form (Annex 14) and send it to england.pharmacypaymentswm@nhs.net.

Please also make sure that you inform patients with a notice, NHS111 Provider, DoS if providing services, local surgery etc.

Alternatively, you can complete the following form: Pharmacy-Forced-Closure

In addition, there’s an operational status reporting tool available from PharmOutcomes, You can find the user manual HERE. If a pharmacy declares a RED status i.e. is closing, completing the template will populate a closure notice that can be sent to the NHS England Regional Team (see email above).

It is at the convenience of the pharmacy to decide which of the above reporting forms/tools they choose to use.

Can I close my pharmacy to the public for a few hours each day to catch up on work?
The SOP gives pharmacies some flexibility in the hours in which they need to open to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically:

• If under significant pressure, at the discretion of the responsible pharmacist, pharmacies may close their doors to the public for up to 2.5 hours a day, including lunch.
• Community pharmacies are expected to be open to the public between 10am-12 noon and 2pm-4pm as a minimum (if these are contracted core or supplementary hours).
• Similarly, 100 hours pharmacies should be open from 10am–12pm and 2pm–6pm as a minimum.

A sign on the door must give information about how to contact the pharmacy if urgent help is needed.

Read more: https://psnc.org.uk/our-news/updated-covid-19-sop-and-opening-hours-flexibility-statement-from-psnc-cca-npa-and-aim/

What measures have been taken to help community pharmacies through the Covid-19 crisis?

In light of the developing COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that this is already having on community pharmacies, PSNC has gained agreement from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on a number of measures to help contractors.

There will be a second letter shortly from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer but, in the meantime, we wanted to inform contractors that we have agreed:

  • Pharmacy Quality Scheme: the scheme will be postponed for three months and the period of delay will be kept under review. The released £18.75 million will be delivered to contractors for activity associated with the COVID-19 response.
  • Hepatitis C testing service: the introduction of this Advanced Service will be delayed from April 2020 for at least three months.
  • Pharmacy Integration Fund pilots: the three pilots announced last month (blood pressure testing; stop smoking support; and point of care testing) have been postponed until further notice.
  • Community Pharmacist Consultation Service: existing pilots for GP referrals to the service will remain in place, but will not be extended at this time.
  • Community pharmacy patient questionnaire (CPPQ) and pharmacy clinical audits: NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not completed these by 31st March 2020.
  • Practice leaflets: NHSE&I will not take action against contractors who have not updated their practice leaflets during the period of the pandemic.
  • Public health campaigns: for the time being, these will only be focused on the national COVID-19 response.
  • Data Security and Protection Toolkit: the current submission deadline has been amended from 31st March 2020 to 30th September 2020.

The requirement for contractors to complete the National Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Audit for 2019/20 had already been waived.  NHSE&I regional teams have also been asked to review the need for any local pharmacy Enhanced services.

Source: PSNC

Are pharmacy staff on the government’s Key Workers list?

Yes, community pharmacy staff and those involved in the medicines supply chain, including the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector, are key workers critical to the Government’s COVID-19 response, and therefore schools remain open for their children to attend during the Coronavirus crisis.

Key workers include all staff working in community pharmacies, pharmacy contractors’ head office staff, delivery drivers, volunteers, as well as those involved in the manufacturing, assembly and delivery of medicines for supply by community pharmacies, such as staff working for pharmaceutical wholesalers.

Template letter that pharmacy contractors can issue to their staff  (Microsoft Word)

Source: PSNC

How does the Coronavirus crisis impact locally commissioned services?

Any information we receive about the impact on local services will be posted on the relevant service page: http://www.coventrylpc.co.uk/services/

What is the ‘vulnerability flag’ in Summary Care Records?

The Vulnerability flag within SCR enables community pharmacy teams using the SCRa application to see an alert when viewing the SCR of a patient who is on the shielded patient list.

https://psnc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/PSNC-factsheet-Summary-Care-Record-Vulnerability-flag.pdf

What financial support is available to pharmacies?

The NPA has compiled some useful information about the business support that is available to community pharmacies during Covid-19:

Financial Measures Available to Community Pharmacy during COVID-19

HMRC Helpline for deferral of payments

How can pharmacy staff get tested for Covid-19?

Please see our separate web page that has all the testing information:

http://www.coventrylpc.co.uk/resources2/covid-19/covid-19-testing/



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Providing information for Community Pharmacies about the work of the Local Pharmaceutical Committee and of the Community Pharmacy Services commissioned within Coventry

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