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COVID-19: New extension of delivery service in ‘local outbreak areas’

The extension only applies to those on the shielded patients list
The extension only applies to those on the shielded patients list

The pandemic delivery service has temporarily been extended further in parts of England that are under local lockdown, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) has announced.

The delivery service has been extended for one week, from today (September 1) to Monday (September 7) in the Leicester city lockdown area and Blackburn with Darwen, NHSE&I said in a letter to contractors last week (August 28).

This follows an earlier recommissioning of the service in the “local outbreak areas” of Leicester, Blackburn and Darwen and Luton, announced on August 1 and in place for one month.

The new extension applies only to those on the shielded patients list and means community pharmacies in the local outbreak areas must ensure patients in this group “can receive their prescription medicines and appliances until the date specified [September 7]”, according to the letter.

Where possible, the first option should still be for a relative or friend of the shielded patient, a carer or a volunteer to collect the medication on their behalf, NHSE&I said in the letter, reminding contractors that the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme remains in place. 

The recommissioned delivery service still features an essential service – whereby pharmacy contractors need to ensure medicines are delivered to eligible patients who are shielding – and an advanced service, where the pharmacy directly delivers the medicines to the patients if there is no-one available to collect it on their behalf.

Only community pharmacies “located within the lockdown areas notified in this or future announcements will receive the essential/mandatory service payments” NHSE&I said in last week’s letter.

Claims for deliveries  

The pandemic delivery service, which first launched in April, came to an end in the rest of England on July 31.

Community pharmacies in the local lockdown areas making deliveries to patients “in line with the service specification for the advanced service” will be able to “claim a fee for delivery during the period the service is commissioned”, the NHSE&I letter stipulated.

The specifications for the extension of the service in areas “where the government has announced that local lockdown procedures are in place”, published on July 30, previously confirmed that the payment per delivery will remain £5 +VAT.

Contractors in the local lockdown areas can submit payment claims for delivering medicines to patients via the NHS Business Services Authority Manage your service portal. Claims must have been received “by the 5th of the month after the service was provided” in order to be processed, the letter said.

Payments for the essential part of the service is “restricted to pharmacies with a postcode in the lockdown areas notified within this announcement and will be paid automatically”.

What do you make of this extension to the pandemic delivery service?

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Hmm.....just looked at the results of the poll on whether the service should have continued. I think someone got their rounding up and downs in a twist cos it only adds up to 99%

In answer to the question tho, it makes sense to do this in areas of lockdown which is what surprises me the most - common sense being applied to pharmacy.

There will probably be more local lockdowns anyway if the Mail is to be believed and a shortage of monkeys to experiment on will delay the vaccine. Our species is truly despicable the way it treats other living things.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

If this is successful, I hope the pharmacies in the area put pressure on the local CCG to make this service a permanent fixture. 

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