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Community pharmacy staff to be included in imminent coronavirus testing programme

By Isabel Shaw

30 Mar 2020

Coronavirus antigen testing for community pharmacy teams is soon to be rolled out as part of the new testing programme for frontline healthcare workers. The new testing programme will be made available to community pharmacy teams, PSNC has confirmed — although it has not yet been said when these will be provided.

The coronavirus testing programme announced and launched on Friday, has been created in collaboration with industry, philanthropy and universities in order to scale up the number of tests available.

The test will allow NHS staff who are self-isolating to know whether they are carrying the virus and whether it is safe for them to return to work.

The tests will be free for NHS staff and will be available from drive through locations, but not available to purchase from retail outlets, PSNC has said.

Government has received extensive criticism from NHS staff over the lack of current testing made available for them, despite their regular contact with infected patients.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Healthcare staff are key in our fight against the virus and I want to ensure that any frontline NHS or care worker who has symptoms of coronavirus or who has a family member with symptoms can be tested quickly and reliably.

‘We want to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on our NHS.’

In Wales, frontline health workers, including pharmacists are already receiving coronavirus testing.

Meanwhile, over 6,000 former pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in the UK are being granted temporary registration to enable them to return to work to assist pharmacies amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

What’s happening in your area? Contact Isabel Shaw at with any information that would be useful for us to share with community pharmacy colleagues

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