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Contractors offered £200 early sign-up fee for new Covid test distribution service

covid tests

By Isabel Shaw

30 Mar 2021

A new NHS community pharmacy Covid-19 lateral flow device distribution service has been added to the NHS Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF), the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said.

The new advanced service, called Pharmacy Collect, will allow asymptomatic patients to collect free Covid-19 lateral flow device (LFD) test kits from their local pharmacy, PSNC explained in an announcement yesterday (29 March).

Patients who wish to use the Pharmacy Collect service can pick a testing kit from their local pharmacy and will be expected to self-administer the test at home.

Pharmacy teams will not be involved or responsible for the generation of test results, supporting the reporting of results or the next steps for the person taking the test, PSNC said.

The service is part of the NHS Test and Trace offering and is optional for pharmacies. It has been commissioned by the NHS as part of the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap plan, which will allow for certain groups or individuals — including school children and teaching staff — to undertake regular Covid testing.

Contractors who choose to provide the advanced service by the 23.59 on 18 April will receive a £200 plus VAT ‘early sign-up fee’.

Pharmacies will receive a further one-off £250 plus VAT to cover initial set-up costs, training staff, and storage costs for the test kits ordered from wholesalers.

In addition, a service fee of £1.50 plus VAT will be paid for every lateral flow test device distributed.

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at PSNC, said the body had wanted to warn the sector about the new service earlier.

‘PSNC wanted contractors to have better advance notice of the service, but that has not been possible for Government to achieve. Contractors wishing to provide the service can do so once they have had time to undertake the necessary preparations,’ he explained.

‘PSNC believes this service will be another demonstration of how community pharmacy has constantly stepped forward to support patients, the public and the nation during the pandemic.’

He added: ‘Distributing test kits is a great way for the accessibility of community pharmacies and the relationships their teams have with the local community to be used to help the nation’s Covid-19 recovery effort, including supporting less well-served groups of the population.’

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