GP-led hot sites – also known as Clinical Decision Units- are providing a place to see patients with coronavirus symptoms face-to-face. But how will they affect local community pharmacies?

GP-led hot sites – also known as Clinical Decision Units- are providing a place to see patients with coronavirus symptoms face-to-face. But how will they affect local community pharmacies?

April 18, 2020

This is the question contractors throughout Surrey and Sussex have been asking the LPCs lately as more and more hot-sites are set up to meet the needs of local communities.

It’s an especially important question as some premises identified as suitable to be hot sites have been co-located with community pharmacy,  and would mean the hot site has a profound impact on patient flows, and subsequent use of the pharmacy, during the period of the pandemic.

Here, James Wood, CEO, and Hinal Patel, service development and support pharmacist, explain the advice they have been giving to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and GP Practices who are setting up hot sites across Surrey and Sussex:

  • Chosen sites must not be premises co-located with community pharmacies, as this creates significant issues for the pharmacy contractor and may disrupt the normal operational services offered by them.
  • Wherever possible the clinicians should use EPS
  • For non-EPS sites, NHS staff or volunteers should transport prescription forms, or community pharmacy emergency supply arrangements, at the request of the prescriber – if facilitated by a CCG locally commissioned service
  • Medicines should be collected from community pharmacy by carers, NHS staff or volunteers or funded delivery service only. Under no circumstance should the patient or someone from their household or close contact visit the pharmacy.
  • Pharmacy staff must not be diverted from doing their jobs to collect prescriptions on behalf of a hot/hub or CDU
  • Clear operational communications should be in place for community pharmacy teams, including:
    • About the new arrangements at the hot site
    • Processes for issuing prescriptions
    • Key messages for patients

“Community pharmacy colleagues are already under a lot of pressure and are naturally daunted by the prospect of more change and disruption on top of that already experienced over the last four weeks” said James

“Being able to talk to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and GP Practices about the implications on pharmacy at the outset helps avoid disruption and extra worry”

“Contact us” urges Hinal, “and where appropriate your head office, to tell us if your colocated/neighbouring general practice is being considered as a hot site.”


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