Following the continuing fall in Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths the devolved nations governments have announced a series of relaxation of lock down restrictions to allow life to return albeit it slowly to something approaching normality. The next milestone in England is April 12th which will see the reopening of non-essential retailers, hairdressers and some relaxation in the hospitality sector which will allow eating and drinking outdoors. This will give a welcome boost to the high street and should result in an increase in footfall in Boots stores.
Lateral Flow Testing
Boris Johnson announced the availability of twice weekly lateral flow testing for all in England via a number of routes including work place and community testing and collection from a number of sites. Community Pharmacies can participate in this extension to NHS track and trace by signing up to a new advanced service called Pharmacy Collect. Pharmacies that sign up to this service will be paid a fee for each supply made to customers who request them and will receive a £450 set up fee if they register for the service by 18th April. Once registered pharmacies will be able to order the LFD kits free of charge from wholesalers selected for this service by NHS England.
Flu vaccination service 2020/2021
The NHS flu vaccination service for 20/21 ended on March 31st. Community pharmacy teams proved that they can deliver once again by administering over 2.6 million NHS flu vaccinations. This is a significant increase on the 1.7 million vaccines administered in community pharmacies last year.
Commenting on the end-of-season figures, PSNC CEO Simon Dukes said:
“To achieve this sort of year-on-year growth in any circumstances would be impressive, but to do so during a pandemic, alongside the severe financial pressures contractors are under, while continuing to dispense a billion prescriptions and offer healthcare advice to more than a million people every week, is nothing short of phenomenal."
Many pharmacies including Boots stores are also contributing significantly to the Covid-19 vaccination programme and many more will be coming on stream in May when vaccine supplies allow and cohorts 10 and above are opened up in the programme.
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