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Community pharmacists have been advised to reassure patients that they do not need to order extra medication as this could cause supply problems in the future, NHSE&I has said. They should continue to prescribe and dispense medicines as usual.

The advice to pharmacies from the NHSE&I comes ahead of the Brexit transition period which is scheduled to end on December 31.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) suggestion follows PSNC’s Community Pharmacy Brexit Forum hearing on Monday (Dec 14) which included a number of organisations, including the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) and NHSE&I, among others.

The prescriptions covering longer durations than normally prescribed should be avoided and prescription durations will be monitored and investigated where necessary, NHSE&I noted.

Community pharmacies have been advised to ensure that they are familiar with the latest information on supply disruption.

They are also asked to ensure CAS alerts and other communications are quickly and effectively shared with all team members who need this information.

Patients, meanwhile, are encouraged to take out travel insurance before travelling to the EU as European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cards may not be valid after the UK leaves the EU.

EU citizens serving as community pharmacy staff in the UK are also advised to register with the EU Settlement Scheme.

The DH provided a comprehensive update on the multi-layered approach to maintaining continuity of supply of medicines, notifying that Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) requirements will cease to effective in Britain from January 1.

It also assured last week around medicines supplies into Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period. These assurances include certain temporary dispensations for up to 12 months and guidance that protects the flow of medicines already on the market in Britain moving to Northern Ireland.

The overall message is that there should be no disruption to the flow of medicines from January, 2021.

The ‘safety features’ elements of FMD and Delegated Regulation cease to have effect in Britain from December 31. English pharmacies will no longer be required by law to verify and decommission unique identifiers on prescription medicine packs.

This means that it will no longer be possible to verify and authenticate packs from January.

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