The General Pharmaceutical Council will no longer be barring community pharmacies from providing point of care or near-person antibody testing.

Instead, the pharmacy regulator now says it expects any pharmacy owner or pharmacy professional to “carefully consider” Public Health England guidance and other relevant guidance when deciding whether it is appropriate to offer this type of test, or other type of Covid-19 test.

This comes following representations from pharmacy bodies, including the National Pharmacy Association, asking the pharmacy regulator to revise its guidance in the wake of PHE decision in early February to withdraw guidance that barred community pharmacies from providing Covid-19 antibody testing.

The NPA on Monday welcomed the removal of “a clear anomaly” in the GPhC’s initial position of barring community pharmacies from conducting these tests.

Its chief executive Mark Lyonette said: “We believe our persistence helped bring about this levelling of the playing field in relation to testing, as well as a big dollop of common sense.

“We are now examining the detail of this modified guidance – PHE and GPhC – so that the full implications can be properly understood.”

GPhC’s updated position also emphasises that any pharmacy offering Covid-19 tests must carry out a full risk assessment and check whether they need to be accredited with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, said the NPA.

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