Business Continuity Planning

Published on: 18th October 2013 | Updated on: 15th May 2024

All businesses and NHS providers, including community pharmacy contractors, need to have an ability to cope with emergency situations, so that wherever possible, they can continue to provide services to patients and the public. From 31st July 2023, it is a Terms of Service requirement for each NHS community pharmacy owner to have a business continuity plan for a temporary suspension of service (closure) due to illness or other reason beyond their control, and to action this when necessary.

This page contains guidance and resources to support business continuity planning and operations during emergencies, such as a pandemic.

Business Continuity Plan Template

Community Pharmacy England has developed the following business continuity plan template for use by contractors; this includes planning for business continuity during periods of disruption to IT services.

Pharmacy Business Continuity Plan template (word)

Pharmacy Business Continuity Plan checklist (word)

Pharmacy Business Continuity Plan for Temporary Suspensions template (word) (can be added to existing template as Annex 6)

Managing a temporary pharmacy closure

If an emergency situation means a pharmacy needs to close for a short period, there are actions a contractor needs to undertake to ensure patients are able to access their prescriptions and that your business can resume easily and effectively once the emergency has passed.

The following Community Pharmacy England Briefing provides guidance on planning which can be undertaken, as part of business continuity planning, in advance of an emergency closure and actions that should be considered in the event of a closure:

Checklist for when a temporary suspension occurs (word)

Briefing 023/23: Business Continuity Plan for Temporary Suspensions

Where a pharmacy has to temporarily close, the pharmacy must display information about the closure so that it is visable from the outside of the pharmacy. The following poster complies with the Approved Particulars for Displaying Notices Regarding a Temporary Suspension and can be used by pharmacy owners to inform patients:

Pharmacy closed poster (PDF)

Pharmacy closed poster (Word)

Other local pharmacies will probably become busier due to the temporary closure of a pharmacy and the following poster can be displayed to explain this to patients:

Poster for pharmacies being affected by a local closure (PDF)

Poster for pharmacies being affected by a local closure (Word)


Briefing 024/22 Emergency closure checklist for community pharmacy (August 2022)

EPS/IT contingency arrangements

Additional resources are set out within our section on:

IT and EPS contingency resources

Utilities Priority Services Register

Contractors can sign-up to the utility services Priority Services Register to enhance their business continuity arrangements. Inclusion on this register should mean your pharmacy has priority access to electricity, water and gas supplies. The register is run by the UK’s utility companies. Read more at:

Sign-up process for addition to the Priority Services Register

Other guidance and resources

Guidance to help community pharmacies continue operating in emergency circumstances was developed by the RPSGB, Community Pharmacy England and Community Pharmacy Wales:

Guidance on Service Continuity Planning for Pharmacy

Appendix A: Service Continuity Planning Template

Community Pharmacy Pandemic Flu business continuity planning template

Department of Health and Social Care Pandemic Flu guidance and resources

NHS England and NHS Improvement Pandemic Flu guidance

For more information on this topic please email

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