Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a news conference on the Covid-19 pandemic, in London on April 5, 2021 (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS)

The PSNC has been asking pharmacy contractors to immediately sign up for coronavirus lateral flow device distribution service after the government announced on Monday that everyone in England will be able to access rapid coronavirus testing from April 9.

Prime minister Boris Johnson indicated in the Number 10 press conference that lateral flow devices could be available for free from pharmacies under a new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service.

“Contractors may therefore see an increase in requests for this new advanced service and are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to enable them to meet demand,” the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said in an update on Tuesday.

Johnson said: “Massive efforts have been made by the British public to stop the spread of the virus.

“As we continue to make good progress on our vaccine programme and with our roadmap to cautiously easing restrictions underway, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted.

“That’s why we’re now rolling out free rapid tests to everyone across England – helping us to stop outbreaks in their tracks, so we can get back to seeing the people we love and doing the things we enjoy.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Around one in three people who have Covid-19 show no symptoms, and as we reopen society and resume parts of life we have all dearly missed, regular rapid testing is going to be fundamental in helping us quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks.

“The vaccine programme has been a shot in the arm for the whole country, but reclaiming our lost freedoms and getting back to normal hinges on us all getting tested regularly.

“The British public have shown over the last year that they quickly adapt and always do what it is right in the interest of public health, and I know they will do their bit by getting tested regularly in the months ahead.”

PSNC’s director of NHS Services Alastair Buxton tweeted:

PSNC reminds contractors on payment

Contractors are reminded that if they sign up by April 18 and deliver the service until June 30, then they will receive an early sign-up fee of £200 + VAT.

“A one-off set-up fee of £250 + VAT will also be paid to contractors who sign up to the service, which covers set-up costs including creating a standard operating procedure for the service and training staff who will be involved in providing the service, and storage costs for the test kits ordered from wholesalers,” the PSNC noted.

Contractors who sign up to provide the service before April 18 will therefore receive £450 + VAT in up-front payments for the service, in addition to the £1.50 service fee for each transaction undertaken.

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