FAQs related to the C-19 LFD Distribution Service

Published on: 10th September 2021 | Updated on: 30th March 2022

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Preparing to provide the service and sign-up

Q. How do contractors sign up to the Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service?
Contractors can sign up to provide the service by completing the Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service declaration on the NHS Business Services Authority’s (NHSBSA) Manage Your Service (MYS) portal.

Q. Will the details of contractors signed-up to provide the service have to be manually entered on the NHS Test and Trace Site Finder map?
No. Contractors’ details will be automatically added to the map when they sign up to provide the service via the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal. All the details for pharmacy contractors will be managed by the NHS Test & Trace team.

Q. How long will it be, after signing up to provide the service, before my pharmacy’s details will be added to the NHS Test and Trace Site Finder map?
Pharmacy details will be added on a weekly basis to the NHS Test and Trace Site Finder map. Contractors who sign up to provide the service by close of play on a Sunday, will have their pharmacy details added to the NHS Test and Trace Site Finder map on the following Tuesday.

Q. I am already providing the service. Do I have to sign up again via MYS to provide the amended service from 4th October 2021?
No. Contractors already providing the service should adopt the new service requirements if they intend to continue to provide the service under the new service specification from 4th October 2021, but there is no need to sign up again to provide the service.

Q. How can contractors request amendments (e.g. changing the name displayed to the trading name of the pharmacy, if the opening hours displayed are incorrect, etc) to their NHS Test and Trace Site Finder map data for their pharmacies providing the service?
They can email a request to PharmacyCollect@dhsc.gov.uk.

Q. Is it possible for contractors to manage their NHS Test and Trace Site Finder map data for their pharmacies providing the service?
Yes. If a contractor wishes to manage their data for their sites on the map, they can request to do so by emailing PharmacyCollect@dhsc.gov.uk. Contractors will need access to a mobile phone to support two-factor authentication used when logging in to the site.

Q. Do I need to UKAS accreditation to provide the service?
No. The UKAS FAQs on COVID-19 tests state:

For home-based tests that are sold [supplied] by the provider, but the provider does not collect the sample or analyse the test – so the test is analysed at home (i.e. new LFD technologies), the provider that sells [supplies] the tests does not require UKAS accreditation.

Q. When did the service officially start/go live?
The service commenced on 29th March 2021, however promotion of the service to the general public did not start until after Easter 2021.

Q. Will any new marketing materials be provided to support the promotion of the service in pharmacies?
Yes. Contractors originally received a pack containing 1 x A3 colour poster, 2 x A4 colour posters and a leaflet about the campaign by courier service in April 2021 and packs will continue to be sent out as contractors sign-up to provide the service.

Additional materials are available on Public Health England’s campaign resource centre including digital screens, a social media post (with suggested copy) and additional posters to print translated into 13 languages.

To support the changes in the service from 4th October 2021, NHS Test and Trace has arranged for new marketing materials to be sent to all contractors to enable them to proactively inform people who use the service of the need to register for a collect code. The marketing materials consist of A3 and A4 colour posters and A5 flyers and will be delivered to contractors by DX couriers between 6th and 15th of September 2021.

Q. Can contractors print their own posters, with the addition of their pharmacy branding?
If contractors want to print copies of the marketing materials co-branded with their pharmacy brand, they can contact the NHS Test and Trace marketing team by emailing pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk. The marketing team will send them the relevant artwork which they will be able to co-brand, but will need to get that signed-off by the NHS Test and Trace marketing team before it is printed and used in a pharmacy.

Q. Do contractors need to update their NHS website profile and their DoS profile when they have signed up to provide the NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service to show that they are now providing this service?
No. The NHS Test and Trace Site Finder map is the website that the public will use to identify which pharmacies are providing the service.

Supply of tests kits to the pharmacy

Q. Will I need to provide my wholesaler(s) with any specific information or declarations to order test kits for the service?
No. The NHSBSA will provide wholesalers with a list of contractors that have signed up to provide the service.

Q. Who are the wholesalers supplying test kits?
Contractors can only order test kits from Alliance Healthcare.

Q. Will contractors incur a surcharge if they order test kits from Alliance Healthcare, but they are not the pharmacy’s main wholesaler?
No. There will be no surcharges incurred against orders for the test kits.

Q. Is there a limit to how many test kits we can order?
Pharmacy contractors can order appropriate quantities of kits in line with the demand of the population they serve, up to an order limit of one carton per pharmacy per day with an order up to a weekly limit of six cartons. This is to support the equitable distribution of tests to all pharmacies that sign up to provide the service.

Q. Do I need to maintain a record of stock received other than on MYS?
Yes. Contractors should maintain a record of stock received from wholesalers which is retained for 6 months from the date on which the stock was delivered to the pharmacy. A template to use to maintain these records is available above.

Storage of the test kits and stock management

Q. If my stock of test kits gets damaged, do I need to record and report this in any way?
If boxes of test kits are damaged and are not in a fit state to be distributed, the contractor should make and retain a record of the number of test boxes damaged, their lot number and the date and cause of the damage. This may be needed as part of any post-payment verification process.

Q. What can I do if my pharmacy is regularly running out of test kits to hand out?
If a pharmacy contractor experiences a surge in demand that it cannot meet with the standard supply quantities, they can contact pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk providing information on the cause of the surge and the approximate level of unmet demand.

Q. Can I move test kit stocks from one pharmacy to another?
Yes, but only in exceptional circumstances (e.g. closure of a pharmacy contractor, or mutual aid for an unforeseen surge in demand). In these circumstances contractors may move stock between pharmacies within or outside their company. Contractors must email pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk, confirming the lot numbers, quantities of cartons and the ODS codes of the pharmacies involved to support batch traceability and stock monitoring.

Q. On checking our stock of test kits, my staff have indicated we are missing some packs, should I report this?
Yes. Any stock which cannot be accounted for when comparing records of stock received and supplies made to the public (e.g. where it is suspected as being lost or stolen) must be notified to pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk providing details of the quantity of test kits and their LOT numbers (where known).

Quality Control

Q. The test kit stock I have received from the wholesaler is damaged. Who should I inform?
Where any issue is identified on receipt of a carton of test kits, the pharmacy contractor should contact the wholesaler customer services team to address the issue.

Q. The test kits we have in the pharmacy have been damaged, can I just dispose of them?
No. In the event that any test kits stored at a contractor’s premises become damaged or compromised, the contractor should email pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk to provide details of the quantity of affected stock, the lot numbers and a description of how the stock was damaged or compromised. NHS Test and Trace will then advise on what to do with the damaged stock.

Providing the service

Q. Is ‘Pharmacy Collect’ and the NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service the same service?
Yes. Pharmacy Collect is the public facing name for the NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service.

Q. The service specification indicates contractors can hand out up to two boxes per transaction. Does the pharmacist have any discretion to authorise the supply of more than two boxes per transaction?
No. The maximum number of boxes that can be provided in a single transaction is two. Where a person needs more than two boxes due to, e.g. the number of people in their household, they should be advised to register for additional collect codes. There is no limit on the number of collect codes a person can get and then use to obtain test kits from a pharmacy.

Q. If I supply as one transaction, two boxes of test kits to a person requesting kits for two people, do I get paid two transaction fees?
No, a transaction fee is paid for each transaction, not each box of test kits supplied. A transaction can include the supply of up to two test kits.

Q. A request is made for just one test. Can we split the boxes of 7 tests?
No. The minimum quantity that can be supplied is one box of 7 tests.

Q. A person requesting test kits does not have a collection code. Can we make a supply?
Yes. If the person collecting the test kits does not have a collect code, pharmacy staff must encourage them to register via gov.uk/get-collect-code or 119 to obtain a code before collection. Staff should explain that obtaining a collect code provides additional patient safety (particularly in the event of a product recall) and allows for a greater understanding of test use. However, if they do not wish to register, pharmacy staff should still provide them with the required test kits and record this as an anonymous collection.

Q. Once registered for a collection code, is the same code used each time they wish to collect test kits?
No. A new 16-digit collect code must be requested for each transaction.

Q. Can someone who lives in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales register for a collect code and then collect a test kit from a pharmacy in England?
No. The registration service will use the users home address to assess suitability for the service. Only users resident in England will be able to obtain a collection code. People with an address in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales would be able to request a test kit in a pharmacy using an anonymous collection.

Q. Can I make supplies to a person under the age of 16 years?
Where the person collecting supplies is under 16, the pharmacist can make a professional judgement as to whether the supply is appropriate and whether the person collecting the test kits is competent to understand the information provided.

Q. Can the pharmacy team administer a test to a person who has collected a test kit, if they are having trouble using the test kit?
No. The service is only for the distribution of kits. Tests must be conducted away from the pharmacy. Where a person requires assistance to perform a test, they should be referred to 119. Where a local testing service is in place (which may include supported self-testing in pharmacies, where local authorities have commissioned such a service), people unable to self-test, could be referred to that service.

Q. Are the key points of advice to the person collecting the test kits required to be provided each time they collect test kits?
The key points must be provided to the person collecting test kits where they indicate this is the first time they are collecting test kits. On subsequent collections, pharmacy teams can use their discretion to determine whether all points need to covered, for example, having determined whether the person had any problems using the tests or any outstanding questions. It is important to remind people of the importance of reporting their results, whether positive or negative.

Q. How do I check if the person collecting test kits understands the key point?
This can be done by asking the individual if they have understood the advice and if they have any questions.

Q. Are contractors required to record any contact details for the person requesting the tests to assist in the event of a recall or concern?
No. The information that pharmacy staff record and report via MYS includes the 16-digit collection code and lot number for the test pack(s) handed out.

Q. Can contractors deliver test kits to people requesting them if they cannot visit the pharmacy?
The service is focused on people collecting test kits from their local community pharmacy. Generally people who wish to have test kits delivered to their home should order their kits from the GOV.UK website. However, home delivery is not precluded by the service specification, as long as all the other requirements of the service are fulfilled.

Q. Can an LFD test kit be used to test young children?
Anyone in England who does not have symptoms can now get regular LFD test kits to check for coronavirus; however, primary school-age children and younger do not need to be tested.

Q. Can distance selling pharmacies provide the C-19 lateral flow device distribution service?
Yes. A distance selling pharmacy may provide Advanced and Enhanced services on the premises. However, they must not provide any Essential services to any person present on their premises while providing the Advanced or Enhanced service.

A distance selling pharmacy can also offer home delivery of the LFDs (as can other contractors) as this is not precluded by the service specification, as long as all the other requirements of the service are fulfilled. However, the service is focused on people collecting test kits from their local community pharmacy. Generally, people who wish to have test kits delivered to their home should order their kits from the GOV.UK website.

Q. Can we provide the COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service from an off-site location, e.g. if we’re providing a COVID-19 vaccination service at a designated vaccination site?
No. The provision of the COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service can only be undertaken from the pharmacy premises.

Q. How much notice am I required to give if I wish to withdraw from the service?
If a contractor elects not to provide the updated service, they should provide notice to NHS Test and Trace no later than 23:59 on 26th September 2021.

If a contractor elects to withdraw from provision of the service after 4th October 2021, they should give 4 weeks’ notice.

The notice should be sent to pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk.

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