The changes for general practice also naturally impact community pharmacy as it is important patients have confidence in their ability to access pharmaceutical services on these days. We are requiring pharmacies in England to open from 2pm to 5pm on 10 April 2020 and 13 April 2020.
Any pharmacy that was planning to open longer hours should still to do so to support access for patients through the day. Where pharmacies had been directed to open by regional teams (RT) as part of the Easter planning activity before the COVID-19 pandemic these arrangements and payment stand unless agreed otherwise between the contractor and NHSE&I regional team.
The NHS England and NHS Improvement regional office should be contacted if:
· a pharmacy is unable to open for reasons beyond the control of the contractor
· the pharmacy wishes to seek exemption from the requirement to open e.g. if a pharmacy is in an area where there is minimal demand due to the Government’s social distancing policy (e.g. large shopping malls)
· there are circumstances where it makes more sense for local communities if the opening hours are outside of 2-5pm.
NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams will consider exceptions and the local flexibility needed based on the needs of patients in the areas served and in view of the challenges for pharmacy staff. Contact details of NHS England and NHS improvement regional pharmacy commissioning teams can be found at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/primary-care/pharmacy/pharmacy-contract-teams/
Pharmacy 111 DoS profiles have been updated to reflect the 2-5pm opening hours. Pharmacies with different opening hours or pharmacies that are closed should ensure their NHS 111 DoS Profiles entries reflect their opening hours over the bank holiday weekend. (DoS Profile Updater is available at https://dos-profile.service.nhs.uk and the emergency change number is 0300 0200 363).
To support patient access pharmacies will also need to ensure their NHS Website entries reflect their opening hours.