The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has advised pharmacy contractors to use emergency provisions to avoid and reduce temporary closures amid shortage of pharmacists and other staff.
The provision was introduced at the start of the pandemic to enables flexible provision of pharmaceutical services by pharmacies.
It has been extended several times, currently until January 31, 2022.
The negotiator noted that self-isolation requirements and a lack of available pharmacists led to a spike in short-notice closures/late opening/early closing incidents in the community pharmacy sector.
However, it reminded contractors that they have a clear duty to provide services in line with their contractual arrangements.
PSNC added: “NHS England and NHS Improvement must agree any contractor application to use the emergency provisions, even if this is done retrospectively.”