The declaration of emergency which allows the flexible provision of pharmaceutical services may be extended beyond its original end date of 31 January, The Pharmacist has learned.
The measure, which was was initially introduced in March 2020 to help maintain pharmacy services during the Covid-19 pandemic, may be extended as cases across the country remain high.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed with The Pharmacist yesterday that an extension to the declaration of emergency is ‘currently being considered’.
They added: ‘Once a decision is made, the detail will be published on the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website, in the usual way.’
This measure will enable contractors to make temporary changes to their opening hours or temporary closures where needed.
This month, the superintendent at a multiple told The Pharmacist that staff shortages have led him to consider reducing pharmacy hours so he is not forced to close stores across the country.
The superintendent said that more staff than ever before were off work while isolating with Covid.
This comes as the UK recorded 109,133 new coronavirus infections in a day, as of 9am on Thursday.
Yesterday (13 January), DHSC announced that community pharmacies in England will be eligible to receive free personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Government until 31 March 2023.
This comes after DHSC ran a public consultation in October to determine whether centrally provided PPE should end as planned in March or be extended.