Free PPE provisions due to be made available to social care staff this winter will be expanded to NHS primary care providers, including community pharmacy, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) announced today (24 September).

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will publish it’s strategy and full arrangements for the delivery of free PPE for primary care next week, the NHS bulletin said.

In preparation, community pharmacies should ensure they have registered on the PPE portal in order to receive PPE supplies free of charge, it added.

This comes after the Government announced that from today (24 September) all retail workers - including community pharmacy staff - must wear a face covering in areas that are open to the public and where they come, or are likely to come, within close contact of a member of the public.

This is amended guidance from guidance published last month, which said community pharmacy teams administering vaccinations this year do not need to use single use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Last month, pharmacy teams in England were also given access to the Government’s PPE portal for the first time -  five months after the portal was first created and two months after other health and social care workers, including general practices and residential and domiciliary social care services, were first given access to the supplies.