Frontline healthcare staff may be able to avoid self-isolation


The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that, from today, frontline NHS workers who have been told to self-isolate can continue to go to work under certain circumstances. This includes staff who have been advised to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 App and those contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

PSNC has received confirmation from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) that this does apply to community pharmacy.

This new dispensation, intended to alleviate pressure on healthcare services, applies only to workers who have been double vaccinated and in scenarios where their absence may lead to a significant risk of harm. The balance of risk between staff absence and the potential impact on patient safety if staff return to work should be assessed and should involve the contractor’s senior clinical leadership.*

Anyone permitted to work under this measure will only be able to do so after having had a negative PCR test (isolating until confirmed as negative) and returning to work must take and report negative lateral flow tests daily, as appropriate.

Any staff who are able to return to work following these risk assessments must adhere to legal isolation requirements at all other times i.e. when not at or travelling to work.

Full details of these and other requirements are in the NHSE&I letter on staff isolation approach (19th July 2021)  PSNC is seeking clarification from NHSE&I on the application to community pharmacy.

*In small primary care organisations,  the risk assessment process should involve the senior clinical leadership, commissioner and local DPH.

In primary care it would apply where the immediate or system-wide impact of absence could lead to adverse patient outcomes judged to outweigh the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19.


Capture healthcare advisory work not being covered by Pharmacy First to inform our negotiations with Government and NHS.

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