The pandemic delivery service has been extended further in areas across England which are currently under a local lockdown, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced.

Pharmacies that fall within the specific local outbreak areas and those pharmacies who have shielded patients within specific local outbreak areas are required to ensure patients can receive their prescription medicines and appliances until the newly arranged date.

Under the service, pharmacies are required to deliver medications and appliances to shielded patients if other arrangements cannot be arranged. 

A letter published by NHS England and NHS Improvement last week said the government-commissioned service will continue in 9 wards within South and West Blackburn, Darwen and rural areas until 21 September. 

It has also been extended across 8 wards within North East Blackburn and Leicester City until 23 September.

The arrangement follows an earlier recommissioning of the essential service between 1 August and 1 September in local outbreak areas: Leicester, Blackburn and Darwen and Luton. The service was later extended for a further week in Leicester, Blackburn and Darwen.

The letter reminds pharmacists and their teams that ‘where possible a friend, relative, carer or volunteer should be asked to collect medicines’.

Pharmacy teams are told to let patients know the NHS Volunteer Responders Programme is still available for all previously shielded and otherwise vulnerable patients to access by calling 0808 196 3646.

In July, the Pharmacist reported that only 8% of requests for support from the NHS Volunteer Responders programme have come from community pharmacy to date. 

Community pharmacy contractors can claim payment for providing the essential service under the Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service on the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.

Contractors must submit payment claims via the MYS platform by the 5th of the month after the service has been provided.

The Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service has already been extended in multiple areas across England due to local outbreaks. 
Earlier on in the pandemic, the delivery service was branded as unsafe’ and ‘unworkable’ by contractors because of the risk it posed to patients and staff. With many pharmacists claiming it missed out some of the UK’s most vulnerable patients