National Community Pharmacy Delivery Service
What is the Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service?
National Health Service England (NHSE) has commissioned a Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service to support people who have been advised to follow the shielding guidance access their medications during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pharmacy will initially help people to use a family member, friend, carer or neighbour to collect their medication for them. If this is not possible the pharmacy will help the person access a volunteer using either the local or national services. Where neither of the above 2 options are suitable the pharmacy can deliver the medication. Deliveries can be arranged in a number of ways. The pharmacy can:
- deliver the medicine to the person themselves;
- arrange for another pharmacy to deliver the medicine on their behalf
- arrange for a courier to deliver the medication.
If the pharmacy is unable to provide any of the support detailed above they must help the person access another pharmacy who can meet their needs.
Who is eligible?
Only people who have been identified as being at the highest clinical risk/extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 can access this service. These are the people who have been advised to following the shielding guidance. This includes:
- Solid organ transplant recipient
- People with specific cancers
o People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer.
o People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment o People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
o People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
o People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- People who are pregnant with significant congenital heart disease.
- People who have been added to the list by their GP because of the very high risk (in line with the risk of those above) to them associated with COVID-19
How can delivery of medicines be arranged by community pharmacy?
The pharmacy will proactively identify people who have been advised to shield and support them to access their medications safely. They will encourage the use of use a family member, friend, neighbour or carer first.
They will support people to access a volunteer:
Local volunteers: Self-isolation welfare support is available from Wigan Council or by calling 01942 489018
NHS Volunteer Responders: Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals can request volunteers to support deliveries via the Good Sam webpage , the Good Sam app or telephone call centre: 0808 196 3382.
If these options are not suitable the pharmacy will arrange delivery of the medicines within a suitable time period or refer the person to a pharmacy who can help them.
What are the restrictions on use of volunteers for medicines that can be abused?
Pharmacies have been advised that they should not use volunteers to deliver medicines which can be abused such as some strong pain killers and sleeping tablets.
What about other vulnerable people or those at increased risk from COVID-19?
These people are not able to use the Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Service. If these people do not have a family member, friend, carer, neighbour or volunteer to collect their medication for them the pharmacy may be able to arrange to deliver medicines and may charge the person for this service. Alternatively they may direct the person to a pharmacy who can meet their needs. Internet pharmacies are contractually required to deliver medications and so may be an appropriate alternative.
Further information on the Community Pharmacy Home Delivery Advanced Service can be found on the NHS website here.
What is the difference between being ‘at increased risk’ and at ‘highest risk’ of complications from COVID-19? Coronavirus can make anyone seriously ill. But some people are at a higher risk and need to take extra steps to avoid becoming unwell. People at increased risk People may be at increased risk from coronavirus if they:
- are 70 or older
- are pregnant
- have a condition that may increase the risk from the coronavirus:
o lung conditions, such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis
o disease, such as heart failure
o chronic kidney disease
o liver disease, such as hepatitis
o conditions affecting the brain and nerves, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS),
o learning disability or cerebral palsy
o problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease, or if you’ve had your spleen removed
o a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
o being very overweight (having a BMI of 40 or above)
The advice for people who may be at increased risk from coronavirus is the same as for most other people – follow the guidance on social distancing.
People at highest clinical risk
People most at risk from coronavirus are sometimes called “shielded” or “extremely vulnerable” people. This includes people who:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections (immunocompromised)
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition.
People at highest risk from coronavirus need to take extra steps to avoid getting it – follow the guidance on shielding. This approach minimises all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.