The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said it has commenced discussions with the government regarding the recently published coronavirus action plan.
The organisation has discussed matters such as the provision of protective equipment for pharmacies, contingency funding for any pharmacies who need it, protection for pharmacies against sudden medicines price rises and ensuring the ongoing provision of pharmaceutical services in case of significant volumes of staff absences.
Much of these were build on previous discussions about the pandemic planning, PSNC stated in a statement.
Simon Dukes, PSNC Chief Executive, said: “The evolving COVID-19 situation is worrying for many people in the UK but particularly so for the health professionals on the front line. Community pharmacy teams are already putting themselves at risk dealing with this illness, and that will continue to be the case as this situation worsens. Pharmacies must be treated as a core part of the NHS in all epidemic planning, and PSNC will ensure that HM Government is aware of the critical part they have to play and the support – including financial – they will need through any epidemic.”
Dukes said the government was in the “early stages of planning the response to COVID-19, building on the considerable pandemic planning work of the past.”
“There are many details still to be worked out and PSNC will be a part of those discussions, looking at how we can best protect the network of community pharmacies and allow them to continue their crucial work through this crisis. We will continue to update contractors as often as we can,” he added.
NHS England and Improvement recently published an initial coronavirus guidance for community pharmacy. PSNC said the government’s latest action plan will be supported by further guidance to the NHS, including community pharmacies, in due course.