Pharmacies will need to implement new arrangements from today after the Government announced plans to lift Covid restrictions.

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that all Covid regulations, including those that mandate lockdown and require people to self-isolate if they test positive, will be scrapped from today (24 February).

Here, we explore how this will impact pharmacies in England:

Pandemic delivery service

The community pharmacy home delivery service is due to end on 5 March, the pharmacy negotiator has said.

The pandemic delivery service was first launched in April 2020 and has been restarted on a number of occasions over the past two years in response to national and local lockdown restrictions.

From today, NHS Test and Trace will no longer issue any 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account IDs - the unique code needed to enable patients to access the delivery service, PSNC explained.

Pharmacy contractors can still make prescription deliveries as part of the service to eligible patients who have a number issued on or before 23 February 2022, to take into account the 10 days in which patients might still be in isolation.

However, the body stressed that no medicine deliveries should be made as part of the service after 5 March 2022.

Payment for the essential element of the service will continue until 31 March, PSNC confirmed.

Contractors must submit claims for the advanced service no later than 5 April, to receive payment for any deliveries made on or before 5 March.

The pandemic delivery service came to an end for clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients in March 2021 after many lockdown restrictions were lifted and the group were told they no longer had to shield.

In October 2022 the delivery service in England was extended for people who had been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Face masks

In a letter sent to pharmacies yesterday, NHSE said that patients, staff and visitors should continue to wear face masks in healthcare settings.

There will be ‘no immediate changes’ to infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance, NHS England confirmed.

Staff isolation

NHS England also said that Covid-positive staff should not attend work, but that updated guidance will be published later today.

And it reiterated that NHS England will write to staff ‘in the coming weeks’ with detail on testing protocols for staff and patients.


From, April, the Government will no longer provide free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England through pharmacies or their website.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs this week that free tests would only remain for vulnerable people and those in ‘the oldest age groups' as part of a wider ‘living with Covid’ plan.  

The Government said it was 'working' with retailers and pharmacies to help 'establish the private market in testing'.

Several multiples have already announced new pricing of lateral flow tests, including Boots which is to begin selling tests from £2.50.