Community pharmacy contractors in England will receive nearly twice as much money through the Pandemic Delivery Service, following an expansion in the number of patients eligible to benefit from the service.
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced that from 16 March 2021, all community pharmacies will see their daily payments for providing the essential service increase nearly two-fold.
This comes as NHS England wrote to community pharmacies on the same day to say that patients told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace would now also be eligible to receive medicines under the Pandemic Delivery Service.
The letter said that the service “is only available to people during their 10-day self-isolation period and who have provided their Test and Trace Account ID when requesting the service”.
Pharmacists are expected to record patients’ account ID as part of the contractor’s delivery record.
According to the latest data from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), 39,435 people were contacted by NHS Test and Trace between 25 February and 3 March 2021 and told to self-isolate following a positive COVID-19 test.
These patients with a positive test provided details of 99,072 close contacts, of which 90,050 were told to self-isolate for 10 days.
The inclusion of people told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace follows an earlier expansion of the clinically extremely vulnerable list to include 1.7 million more people from 16 February 2021.
The PSNC said in a statement that it had “discussed these increases in the number of patients covered by the Pandemic Delivery Service with the DHSC and has agreed increased funding for the essential service requirements”.
“The increase to the daily payment is based on the current agreed funding, recalculated to reflect the growth in the number of people covered by the obligation to provide support with deliveries,” the PSNC said.
The payments, which are calculated based on the number of prescription items dispensed per month, will increase from up to £20.11 per day to £37.34.
The Pandemic Delivery Service launched early in the COVID-19 pandemic, with pharmacists able to choose to provide an advanced delivery service in addition to the essential service.
Under the essential service, pharmacies must provide advice to patients who cannot arrange to have their prescription collected, covering how to find a volunteer who can deliver their prescription.
If this is not possible, the pharmacy must deliver the medicine themselves as part of the advanced delivery service or find another pharmacy who can arrange a delivery.
The PSNC added that the separate advanced service fee of £6 per delivery remains unchanged.
The service will be commissioned until 30 June 2021.