As the UK is set to enter the second national lockdown, the health secretary has decided to restart the ‘pandemic delivery service’ across England from tomorrow until Dec 3.

The service was originally commissioned across the country during the first national lockdown and was resumed in some specified local outbreak areas until Oct 5 after the nation-wide restrictions were lifted.

The government has already issued new advice to patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19, previously referred to as shielded patients, which includes those with reduced immune systems, for example due to organ transplants, or those with specific cancers or severe respiratory conditions, such as cystic fibrosis.

Two new groups have also been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19 and have been added to the list of such patients: adults with Stage 5 chronic kidney disease and adults with Down’s syndrome.

According to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, NHS trusts and general practices respectively will be adding patients from these groups to the shielded patient list. The need for children and young people to stay on the list will also be reviewed considering individual circumstances. The Summary Care Record of these patients will be updated accordingly.

This change to the service requirements was announced in a letter published by NHS England and NHS Improvement on Nov 4. The terms of service requirements will apply to all community pharmacy contractors in England who will be paid for the days the service is active, as set out in Part VIA of the Drug Tariff.

If a community pharmacy is asked to deliver a prescription to a ‘shielded patient’, this can now be treated as an ‘advanced service’ and a claim for payment can be made via the usual NHS manage your service (MYS) platform.

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