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Covid-19: PSNC updates guidance for community pharmacists

By Isabel Shaw

12 Mar 2020

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has updated its protocol on community pharmacies’ coronavirus response.

It recommends that pharmacies display two new Public Health England (PHE) posters so they’re visible to people seeking to enter the pharmacy premises.

Existing posters should be replaced as they are now outdated.

This comes as the government yesterday amended its coronavirus possible case definition to include patients needing hospital admission, and:

  • have either clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia
  • or acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • or flu-like illness.

This afternoon, NHS England and the government updated its advice for people with symptoms. Anyone who has a new continuous cough or a temperature of 37.8 degrees or higher should stay at home for seven days.

The Pharmacist reported earlier this week that PHE would start delivering free PPE packs to community pharmacies this week or next, to protect themselves from possible infection.

However, PSNC said in its updated guidance: ‘The need for community pharmacies to have to use PPE, at this time, is low; the guidance on PPE use will be kept under review as the pandemic progresses.’

It added: ‘Wherever possible, a patient presenting in the pharmacy with possible Covid-19 infection should be immediately told to return home and then access NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 (calling being a secondary option to online access) in order that the pharmacy does not have the increased risk of dealing with an isolated patient in the consultation room and the subsequent need for decontamination.’

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