The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has been in urgent discussions with the NHS on the opening hours for community pharmacy during the upcoming Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

“Keen to ensure that neither too few nor too many pharmacies” were open during the Easter Bank Holidays, PSNC said it was “seeking agreement from NHSE&I that the existing arrangements will be sufficient.”

It added that the increase in prescription volumes seen over the past few weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic could mean that the seasonal demand, usual in the weeks before the holidays, had been largely met already.

Late this evening (April 1), four national community pharmacy representative bodies have this evening issued a joint statement on Easter 2020 opening hours.

It said: “AIM, CCA, NPA and PSNC have been informed… NHSE&I may shortly announce that community pharmacies must open for at least some time on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday.”

Medicines delivery service for ‘shielded’ patients

The negotiators are also holding urgent talks with the government on the details of the Pandemic Delivery Service – a medicines service for very vulnerable ‘shielded’ patients, who have been asked to stay at home for a period of 12 weeks to avoid contracting coronavirus.

Admitting that negotiations on such a service were “complex,” PSNC has warned contractors that until an agreement was reached there was no NHS-funded medicines delivery service and that therefore contractors deciding to offer these deliveries would need to do so at their own expense and risk.

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