The declaration of emergency, which allows the flexible provision of pharmaceutical services,  has been further extended beyond the planned end date of 31 January.  

The measure, which was initially introduced in March 2020 to help maintain pharmacy services during the Covid-19 pandemic, has been extended, as cases across the country remain high.  

In a document published on the NHS Business Services Authority website, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed the declaration would be further extended until 31 March. 

This measure will enable contractors to make temporary changes to their opening hours or temporary closures where needed.  

LloydsPharmacy keeps reduced hours 

In a service update, shared on Twitter last week, LloydsPpharmacy said that its 100-hour branches located in Sainsbury’s supermarkets would continue to operate temporarily reduced trading hours. 

The branches have been operating on reduced trading hours since November last year. 

The update read: ‘We are constantly reviewing changes to our trading hours as a direct result of workforce pressures across the business. 

They added: ‘We have made the decision that we will be applying to the NHS to continue with your current reduced hours to alleviate the workforce pressures within your store and ensure we can offer pharmaceutical provision to our patients during the reduced trading hours within the week.’  

Last month, the superintendent at a pharmacy chain 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.  

DHSC recently announced that community pharmacies in England will be eligible to receive free personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Government until 31 March 2023.