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Pandemic dispensing legislation comes into force

Dispensing to all when pharmacies are closed

April 9th 2020

Tagged: Dispensary guidance news political news Pharmacy owners' news England COVID19

By Ailsa Colquhoun

Legislation has been passed enabling CCGs to authorise dispensing practices in England to dispense to all patients (including formerly non-dispensing patients) during a pharmacy closure and until Wednesday 1 July 2020.

Subject to approval by local NHSE organisations, this legislation will support practices in England to dispense during this weekend’s bank holidays when pharmacies may be closed.  The DDA’s interpretation is that the decision to dispense to non-dispensing patients should be based on an assessment of the safety and the practicality/ability of the patient to access an open pharmacy.

DDA chief executive Matthew Isom said: “We urge practices to use this regulation judiciously and only when non-dispensing patients are struggling to obtain their medication from their normal pharmacy.  One of the most important times this will be used is for those patients who are being asked to remain at home with Covid19 symptoms and Just in Case medications are supplied for symptom control.”

The DDA will ask LMCs to contact local CCGs on behalf of practices to clarify the local position. Scripts dispensed to non-dispensing patients should be accounted for, and submitted for pricing, in the usual way.

The signed legislation document enacts section 61 of The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013, which (along with subsequent amendments) are available to view by members in the library of regulations.

Section 61 reads:

Temporary arrangements during emergencies or circumstances beyond the control of a dispensing doctor

61.—(1) During an emergency requiring the flexible provision of pharmaceutical services, the NHSCB may require a dispensing doctor to provide pharmaceutical services (“temporary services”) to patients to whom the dispensing doctor is not otherwise entitled to provide pharmaceutical services—

(a)where, as a result of the temporary closure of pharmacy premises in the area of the relevant HWB, the NHSCB considers that, in order to secure continuing adequate provision of pharmaceutical services in that area during the emergency, it is necessary for it to require provision of those temporary services; and

(b)for a specified period (which must not be longer than the specified period of the emergency given by the Secretary of State), which the NHSCB may extend or curtail in appropriate circumstances.