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Coronavirus outbreak leads to cancellation of national clinical audit

Pharmacy teams should focus on implementing coronavirus procedures, PSNC has said.

The national antimicrobial stewardship clinical audit for 2019/2020 has been waived to allow pharmacies to focus on implementing coronavirus prevention tactics.

The audit, which was due to be completed by community pharmacies by March 31 as part of the contractual framework, has been cancelled, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced on Friday (March 6).

The decision was reached following discussions between PSNC, NHS England and NHS Improvement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement want to “ensure that pharmacies are focused on the actions set out in national communications regarding COVID-19”, the PSNC said in a statement published last week (March 6).

The audit was due to be repeated in 2020/21, but will now be “undertaken for the first time in that year”, according to the PSNC. Further details about the audit will be released later this year, it added.

The audit, which was set to take place annually for pharmacy contractors on a topic decided on by NHS England and NHS Improvement, centered on “advice provided to patients on upper respiratory tract infections”, the PSNC said last month.

However, coronavirus guidance for community pharmacy published by NHS England last week (February 27) has taken precedence.

The guidance recommends that pharmacists appoint a coronavirus lead, remain open “unless advised to close by the health protection team”, and identify at least one “suitable isolation space or room” for patients thought to have the virus.

How has coronavirus affected your pharmacy?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

Once again, this highlights how we are (not) considered a part of the NHS, how poor the NHS understanding of what happens in Pharmacy is and the difference in the power of GPs and Pharmacists.

1) the Gp SOP has an appendix for suggested amendments from experience on the front line.... nothing for Pharmacy as we obviously dont see sick people and if we do the we cant be trusted to comment.

PPE - from the Chief pharmaceutical officers letter..."As outlined in the standard operating procedure pharmacies will have limited need for personal protective equipment. Gloves, aprons and fluid repellent face masks should currently be ordered via normal wholesalers in small quantities. These should be only for use by the pharmacy staff and isolated patients in line with the standard operating procedure and must not be sold to the public. Superintendent pharmacists and responsible pharmacists should ensure this is the case." 

I know the PSNC have said we will get small quantities delivered, but, from a letter to surgeries... "An initial stock of protective kit (PPE) for each practice, including 400 general use aprons, 300 pairs of examination gloves and 300 fluid repellent face masks will be issued early next week to all practices. Larger surgeries will receive repeat deliveries to ensure they have sufficient amounts."

makes it plain how they see the way patients access healthcare.

How High?, Community pharmacist

It hasn't yet, but if the schools close so will we as there'll be no staff to work in the pharmacy!

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

but our own contracted audit still has to go ahead.... why? madness!

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