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Amid growing concerns over the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) jointly issued new guidance about maintaining continuity of pharmacy services in the event of crises.

The organisations said they are helping their members to plan ahead for all eventualities including staff sickness and Covid-19 lockdowns.

Providing Pharmaceutical Care in Crisis Situations sets out a staged response to a crisis for individual pharmacies and for pharmacies working together, including sharing staff or stock.

The guidance provides a coordinated approach in dealing with significantly increased demand and reduced capacity that may be caused by national emergencies and local major incidents, including the impacts of Covid-19.

It suggests five levels of response, from business as usual, through to protecting essential services by concentrating resources and co-ordinating temporary closures.

Malcolm Harrison, CCA chief executive, said: “These documents are a set of principles. They have been designed to help contractors think about the steps and actions they should consider taking in emergency situations, including in the current pandemic, to support the community pharmacy network to continue to provide pharmaceutical care to their local communities”.

Mark Lyonette, NPA chief executive, added: “This document is in no way a prediction of what will happen in community pharmacy as a result of a second wave of coronavirus. It is to help everyone in the sector think about contingencies for crises of all sorts, and how they might need to work with one another to maintain services.”

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