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As 2021 draws to a close...
...we are once again seeing rising levels of Covid infections, potentially followed by hospitalisations and sadly, deaths.
Whilst this might prompt us all to consider reining back on our Christmas and New Year festivities, this time of year however is also one for many to reflect on from both personal and professional levels.
Having recently lost two members of my own family - not Covid-related, but sad nonetheless - we will no doubt all spare a thought over the next couple of weeks for family, friends and colleagues who have been afftected by Covid or any illness, in whatever way.
To those of you who have worked so hard to ensure your pharmacies remain open and accessible to patients and public, thank you again, your efforts have been tremendous and are increasingly being recognised by commissioners, fellow health & care workers, patients and public.
With the rising rate of infections, we have also seen agreement from NHSE&I to relax some of our contractual obligations for this financial year, and push back the deadline to gather most of your evidence for PQS 2021-22 - driven largely by the need to ensure as many people as possible are able to get their booster vaccinations, or indeed to complete a primary course - and our community pharmacy vaccination sites are stepping up massively to support this locally, again thanks to all involved from the LPC.
Full details on the contractual "easements"  can be found on  the PSNC website.
Furthermore, with our GP colleagues also prioritising Covid vaccinations for the remainder of the month and into early 2022 we expect there to be a significant increase in referrals to community pharmacy under the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS), both from general practice and NHS111 - please check out Simon Hay's piece below and ensure that if you are signed up for this, then you actively engage and keep checking PharmOutcomes and NHS shared mailboxes for referrals - we have already seen significantly higher numbers of referrals from general practice in December then previous months.
Finally, I would like to join with all my LPC officer and member colleagues in wishing you a safe and restful Christmas, and a Happy New Year.
With best wishes
Peter Prokopa
GP-CPCS Latest
 We are now seeing referrals to pharmacy grow steadily, with over 500 referrals sent in Staffs and Stoke this month already. Within NHS Midlands there are over 300 practices providing over 16000 referrals so far, and nationally over 105,000 referrals have been sent. The majority of patients are getting a same day consultation with the pharmacist so thank you for your efforts.
The majority of the reasons for referral are still from the 'core' conditions which all and every pharmacist should be able to advise on. 
UTI's have been a popular reason for referral this month, and it's very important that we deal with these professionally. If the responsible pharmacist on duty can deal with them - great. If not, after speaking to the patient you should act on their behalf and find a pharmacist who can offer the service. Please make your teams aware of this important fact so they can advise the locum/relief pharmacist.
Urgent referrals back to GP practices are running at 7.5% which is better than the national average of 10%. 
We are challenging practices who on occasion do not include a reason for referral. In return we have been asked to add a little more detail when just providing advise e.g. patient referred to us with a sore ear. We've provided advice but was that on how to unblock wax, or clear inner ear congestion? Feel free to put brief notes in the free type box at the bottom of the consultation form.
We will also be challenging practices who started doing referrals then stopped to understand what has prompted the change.
Those practices who have still not gone live will be strongly encouraged to do so in Jan/Feb. We are confident that referral numbers will increase steadily through to April, at which point each practice will be given a cash incentive related target for referrals to community pharmacists.

Contractor support for new NMS conditions
As previously flagged, Birmingham & Solihull LPC has commissioned some support webinars to help contractors with the new NMS conditions as recently announced - the first three of these are now available to access as recorded versions at: 

Gout: - presentation slides can be downloaded HERE, additionally you can download a list of the relevant Gout medications.

Parkinson's disease links: presentation slides  and list of the Parkinson's medications

Glaucoma links:, presentation slides and list of glaucoma meds.

Further dates/links for the workshops related to the other conditions will be shared when available!

Pharmacy Collect - stock availability and out of stock poster

This morning the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) briefed PSNC on the latest situation regarding the availability of NHS Test and Trace Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) to pharmacies.

The unprecedented demand for test kits from people testing due to the Omicron variant, combined with precautionary testing before the Christmas period, continues, with over 11 million tests having been distributed this week to pharmacies, which has doubled from last week.

Unfortunately this continuing level of demand means the UKHSA has exceeded its stock allocation for LFDs to be supplied via pharmacies this week. This has meant the UKHSA could not deliver any further test kits to Alliance Healthcare distribution centres this morning and while there was a quantity of remaining stock at some of the distribution centres, which will be used to fulfil orders from pharmacies, most pharmacies will not receive a delivery of test kits today.

The UKHSA are working to arrange further deliveries of test kits to Alliance Healthcare over the next few days, so more stock will be available to distribute to pharmacies on Monday (20th December) and throughout the week, providing more than the normal weekly allocation of stock. In some cases the stock will be delivered by Parcelforce, where extra delivery capacity is required.

Stock will continue to be delivered as quickly as possible, often next day, but contractors are reminded that the service level agreement Alliance Healthcare have with the UKHSA stipulates delivery within three working days.

Any orders placed over the last two days (15th and 16th December) will be cancelled, with orders from today onwards being fulfilled as stock becomes available. The stock to be received by Alliance Healthcare will be one of the following two products, so contractors should check product availability of each product and order whichever is in stock at the time:

Product: DHSC INNOVA COVID-19 test kits  PIP: 8943037

Product: DHSC ORIENT GENE test kits PIP: 8943995

There may be periods next week when the products appear out of stock, before more replenishment stock is received from the UKHSA; in that circumstance contractors should check back later in the day to see if more stock has become available to order.

At PSNC’s request, the UKHSA have issued a poster which pharmacies can print off and display when they are out of stock of test kits.

Download the LFD test kits out of stock poster (colour)

Download the LFD test kits out of stock poster (black and white)

Editable and A3 versions of the posters are available to download from the Campaigns Resources Centre.

Contractors are also reminded that NHS England and NHS Improvement recently issued materials to be used in all primary care locations to encourage people to show respect to staff.

Download the NHS Primary Care Staff Respect Materials

Local testing service - Staffordshire County Council
It has been confirmed that the service will definitely continue to run until the end of March 2022 at least, so symptom-free patrients wanting to access a test can be referred to a local participating pharmacy - full details can be found at:

Staffordshire Sexual Health Service Update – Winter 2021-22

The latest OpenClinic SxH Update can be found on our website - this issue includes:
  • Services Update
  • Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) update
  • Extending Hepatitis C testing
  • Christmas closures (see note below)
  • Website reminder
Note the update includes an error in the Christmas closure dates, which should read:
Clinics will be closed on the bank holidays of 27th and 28th December and 3rd January.
Usual clinic open times from 29th to 31st December (NOT January)
Please sign post service users to our website for general information, SH:24 for STI testing kits, or to consult their GPs or in an emergency call 111
Our website will display clinic closures for each area.
Joint Pharmacy/Dental Workshop - medicines related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ)
Sent to All West Midlands Community Pharmacies:

Dear Colleague,
HEE has arranged a workshop on MRONJ and anticoagulants for dental and pharmacy colleagues, to be held online on the 15th February 2022, 7:30pm -9pm.
Please find below links to:
Best wishes,
Pharmacy Team – West Midlands 
NHS England and NHS Improvement – Midlands 
Copyright © 2021 South Staffordshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee, All rights reserved.

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