Here we look back on the key achievements and developments during 20/21; a remarkable year not only for the community pharmacy sector but also the country as a whole.
04/20 | Pandemic Delivery Service
A new medicines delivery Advanced Service is launched at short notice to ensure that the most clinically vulnerable ‘shielded’ patients can continue to receive their medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
04/20 | Advance payments
Following representations from PSNC, Ministers agree to inject £370 million of advance funding into community pharmacies during the early months of the pandemic in recognition of the significant cashflow pressures facing the sector at this time.
06/20 | Pharmacy representation review
An independent review into community pharmacy representation and support looks at how to make LPCs and PSNC fit for the future, setting out a standardised governance framework and measures to bring local and national representation functions closer together.
07/20 | Pharmacy Quality Scheme 20/21
The scheme was broken into two parts, with the first focussing on ensuring pharmacy contractors and their teams had put in place all reasonable measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting both themselves and the people using their services.
09/20 | PSNC Pharmacy Advice Audit
PSNC publishes the findings of its 2020 Pharmacy Advice Audit, showing the huge number of informal patient consultations that community pharmacies carry out and the positive impact of these consultations both on patients and other healthcare services.
10/20 | NHS Test and Trace concerns
PSNC and other pharmacy leaders wrote to the Minister and NHS officials to issue an urgent warning that NHS Test and Trace discrepancies could close pharmacies down, posing a potential threat to the timely supply of medicines to local communities.
11/20 | Review Steering Group (RSG) formed
A group of contractor representatives from across the sector is formed to take forward the work to improve community pharmacy contractor representation and support following the Pharmacy Representation Review.
‘Pharmacies bring incredible value to local communities and their patients. We are beginning to see the light at the end of a troubling tunnel, and we would not have made it this far without the contribution from community pharmacy. I look forward to having the conversation to ensure that we get a sustainable funding model not only with colleagues but, mainly, with the sector.’Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under-secretary of State, March 2021
11/20 | Flu Vaccination Service extended
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announces that community pharmacy contractors, along with GPs, will be able to vaccinate 50- to 64-year-olds against flu, making the 2020/21 flu vaccination programme the largest ever undertaken in England.
12/20 | PPE reimbursement
PSNC and DHSC agree a mechanism by which pharmacy contractors can claim reimbursement for their expenditure on personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
12/20 | Measures to address workload
Following requests from PSNC, service changes were introduced to create extra capacity in community pharmacies during the ongoing pandemic. These included more flexible timings for completion of Part 2 of the 2020/21 Pharmacy Quality Scheme and the removal of some contractual requirements.
02/21 | Pharmacist Wellbeing Workshop
PSNC partners with charity Pharmacist Support to offer contractors access to the charity’s workshop on stress management and building resilience.
02/21 | Discharge Medicines Service commences
NHS Trusts begin to refer patients to community pharmacies on discharge from hospital, improving links between community pharmacy, Primary Care Networks and hospital pharmacies.
03/21 | Call to write off COVID-19 loans
Ahead of the Budget, PSNC writes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking him to intervene in the ongoing COVID-19 funding negotiations and ensure that pharmacies do not have to pay back any of the £370m in emergency loans they received in 2020.
03/21 | First RSG engagement events
The RSG holds its first engagement sessions with LPCs and pharmacy contractors, then appoints The Berkeley Partnership as programme management advisers to create a programme plan and develop the stakeholder engagement approach.
03/21 | COVID-19 Test Distribution Service
Community pharmacies race to sign up to help distribute COVID-19 lateral flow device (LFD) test kits to non-symptomatic patients as part of a newly commissioned NHS service.