Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services, PSNC

Contractors are required to comply with the updated service requirements of the NHS Community Pharmacy Covid-19 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Distribution Service, which comes into effect from October 4.

This follows a review of the service at the end of June 2021 by NHS Test and Trace, the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

The changes are based on earlier experience, insight from user engagement and wider changes in government and NHS Test and Trace policy on Covid-19 testing.

The changes include reduction in the number of packs of test kits contractors can supply per transaction from four to two, daily entry of data to support NHS Test and Trace to identify areas of Covid-19 testing demand.

A reduction in the minimum age for a person to collect LFD test kits to 16 years, and requirement for citizens to register for a collect code via gov.uk/get-collect-code or 119 prior to making a collection from a pharmacy.

Meanwhile, contractors who wish to stop the service must provide their notice to withdraw by September 26.

PSNC has negotiated an increased service fee of £1.70 + an allowance for VAT per transaction where a collect code is captured.

In cases where no collection code is provided, contractors will still be able to provide test kits, but it will be remunerated at a lower fee of £1.20 + an allowance for VAT per transaction.

PSNC director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, said: “We welcome the continued use of community pharmacies and the relationships their teams have with the local community to provide the service as part of the nation’s Covid-19 recovery effort.

“While the increase in the service fee associated with collection codes is welcome, PSNC was disappointed that Government insisted on a reduced fee for the provision of the service to patients who do not have a collection code or choose not to register for one, but we hope contractors will choose to continue to provide the revised service from 4th October.”

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