Regs reminder (#12): Facilitating remote access to pharmacy services

Ahead of the 2021/22 contract monitoring process, community pharmacy contractors are reminded of recent changes to the pharmacy Terms of Service. This article is part of a series of reminders.

On 20th October 2020 new NHS regulations were laid to introduce changes to the Terms of Service for pharmacy contractors. PSNC issued a series of 14 Regs explainer articles in November 2020 to help contractors and their teams to understand the new requirements.

Whilst deadlines for compliance with the changes have now passed, the end of 2020 was a particularly busy time for pharmacies, so contractors are advised to review our reminders in preparation for completing the 2021/22 Community Pharmacy Assurance Framework (CPAF) survey, which will include questions on some aspects of the new Terms of Service.

What is required?

An addition to the Terms of Service states that pharmacy contractors must, to a reasonable extent:

  1. facilitate remote access to pharmacy services provided at or from its pharmacy premises, where users wish to access those services under arrangements that make those services available using remote access; and
  2. establish, maintain and keep under review procedures to facilitate remote access to those services under arrangements that make those services available using remote access.

Providing pharmacy services remotely has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This requirement seeks to confirm and ensure that all pharmacies providing services remotely to patients, bricks and mortar and Distance Selling Premises (DSP), facilitate remote access to the full range of NHS pharmacy services provided by a pharmacy, to a reasonable extent, including, for example:

  • ensuring that appropriate advice is given to patients about any medicines or appliances dispensed to them;
  • accepting and disposing of unwanted medicines from patients, as part of the Disposal of Unwanted Medicines service; and
  • supporting patients who are prescribed new medicine via the New Medicine  Service (NMS), where this is provided by the pharmacy.

Where can I get more support on this?

Further guidance on this term of service is available in NHS England and NHS Improvement’s regulations guidance and our website provides information on Essential and Advanced services.

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