lick on a heading below for more information. 

Aggressive and violent behaviour towards staff

As the UK responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Pharmacies in Sussex and Surrey are working in challenging circumstances to ensure that everyone gets the medicines they need, when they need them, and tensions are understandably high.

But that does not mean people can go into pharmacy and abuse the staff.  Shouting abuse and swearing at staff who are doing their absolute best to keep local residents supplied with medicines is abhorrent and totally unacceptable. 

This simple poster has been prepared by your LPCs for you to download and display, if you  you think it will help you and your staff. 

Please remember we are here to help (A4) Sept 2020

For more information or for a word document that you can insert your own logo onto 

Ask for ANI

The Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support. 

Read more about the scheme, which is voluntary. Sign up here

The Home Office has produced guidance on Ask-for-ANI-Non-participating-pharmacies.

More information and national sources of support

Aspiration payment

An Aspiration payment is available for the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) which supports cash flow and recognises that there is only one declaration period in 2019/20 towards the end of the year.

The Aspiration payment is optional; if contractors do not want to claim it, it will not impact on the contractor’s ability to claim a PQS payment in February 2020.

Community pharmacy contractors had until 23:59 on 9 October 2020 to claim an Aspiration payment for the Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2020/21 Part 2. 

*** Please note, the window for claiming for an Aspiration payment has now closed. ***

For more information 

Blister packs / MDS / Dossette boxes

Your LPCs and the LMC have developed local guidance for contractors and general practitioners on this subject. A link to a briefing note/guidance is below. A statement from your LPC will help you as required, especially during Covid-19 pandemic.  

Statement from the LPCs about Blister packs/MDS/ Dossette boxes.  28 April 2020:

    • Some pharmacies are stopping the issue of Blister Packs, as they need to prioritise their time/make capacity in the team. This is not a blanket “ban”, but availability is being preserved for the most vulnerable who need them most, and after a robust assessment of patient need by the community pharmacist.  It is the discretion of the community pharmacist to decide if they can support requests for blister packs, taking into account Equality Act 2010 requirements.
    • There is no funding from the NHS for community pharmacies to support the general use of medicines compartment aids (MCA). Consequently community pharmacies cannot be compelled to provide medicines in this way.

For more information

Email lpc@communitypharmacyss.co.uk

Branded generics (Branded medicines)

Although most generic medicines in category M are the most cost-effective way of prescribing that medicine, at times manufacturers reduce the price of their branded product to one that is cheaper than the equivalent generic product listed in category M. This is done to promote market share of the branded product.

Some CCGs encourage the prescribing of, and switching patients to, specific branded medicines or “branded” generics. Such a policy may deliver some cost savings to the CCG drugs bill; however, the savings are often unsustainable by the manufacturer.

In addition, by adopting these policies, this can impact on the financial viability of local pharmacies and put the provision of pharmaceutical services at risk. The reduction in prices at a local level may cause increased prices for the NHS as a whole, as adjustments are made to ensure full delivery of total agreed pharmacy funding. This adjustment is applied nationally, so the adjustment may not restore viability to seriously affected local pharmacies.

Frequent changes to prescribing could also be detrimental to patient care. Continually changing brands can create confusion for patients and can undermine their confidence in their medicines. There is also evidence that some branded generic products that have been subject to switching have quickly become short in supply, leading to delayed access to the medicines for the patient.

source: The community pharmacy – a guide for general practitioners and practice staff published by PSNC and BMA in May 2019

For more information

Breach notices

A contractual breach occurs when one or more parties, who have entered into a contractual agreement, fail or refuse to perform their obligations under the

Chapter 37 on page 304 of the Pharmacy Manual sets out the apprach to be taken by NHS England when monitoring compliance and managing performance of NHS community pharmacy contracts

For more information 


The UK left the European Union (EU) on Friday 31st January 2020. The country has now entered a transition period until the end of 2020. The GOV.UK website states that, during the transition period, the current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply.

PSNC is representing the interests of community pharmacies in discussions on this topic as part of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) EU Exit Medicines Supply Industry Collaborative Group. 

For more information 

Business continuity

Use our A-Z of advice, hints, tips and links to help you save valuable time should an emergency affect your pharmacy business.

Here is a list of contact details some of community pharmacies most important external stakeholders.

For more information 

CPCS (community pharmacist consultation service)

From October 2019 this service has connected patients who have a minor illness with a community pharmacy as their first port of call. The following topics are to be found on this PSNC page.  

    • The service specification, directions and guidance
    • Service implementation
    • Service funding
    • Workforce development
    • Related resources
  • Here is a two-page SE Patient Pathway with contact details for local GP out of hours providers, which you may wish to print off and have handy as an aide memoir. (Information provided by NHS E uploaded on 23 December 2019)

For more information 


Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are NHS organisations that bring  together local GPs and experienced health professionals to take on commissioning responsibilities for local health services.

For more information 


In 2019 we helped produce a video, called Young Adult Carers and Pharmacy Support, in close collaboration with Carer Leads in Surrey Heartlands. It features two young adult carers, one caring for her mum with mental health problems and the other for her brother with Down’s syndrome. There’s also input from Community Pharmacy Surrey and Sussex about what community pharmacists can do to help carers like these manage medicines more effectively

For more information 


A contractor may close a pharmacy on a temporary basis if prevented from opening by reason of illness or other reasonable cause – for example, staff illness and absence or for the decontamination of the pharmacy. Please remember if you close temporarily, you must have good reason to do so. Consider using the community pharmacy emergency closure checklist, which has been developed with NHS England Improvement (NHSE&I).

NHSE&I has indicated that contractors closing temporarily for this reason must:

  • inform NHSE&I of the temporary closure (and any arrangements for continuity of service with other contractors/pharmacies);
  • update the pharmacy NHS 111 Directory of Services (DoS) profile the DoS emergency change number (0300 0200 363); and
  • update the NHS Website.

There are five forms for use by contractors to notify/apply for changes to opening hours and a form for the notification of premises closures. These should be emailed to ENGLAND.southeastcommunitypharmacy@nhs.net

Here’s a copy of the NHS England & Improvement Regional Pharmacy Contracts Team policy on unplanned closures in the South East

Further information on opening hours(including changes and suspension) and how NHSE&I administers opening hours for pharmacies, which is handled locally by its regional offices

Collecting a prescription for someone else

We worked with Healthwatch West Sussex to produce this helpful guide of things people need to remember when they are collect a prescription for someone else.

Print colour or choose b/w setting on your printer: ‘Collecting a prescription for someone else’ poster Apr 20

For more information 

Consultation rooms

The changes in the pharmacy contract over the last ten years have prompted the installation of private consultation areas in the majority of community pharmacies where patients can freely discuss sensitive issues, safe in the knowledge that they will not be overheard by other members of the public. 

For more information 

Contractual - forms

These forms relate to Chapters 36 and 38 of the Pharmacy Manual and are for contractors to advise/apply to the regional teams with regard to opening hours. Forms should be submitted to the South East (Kent, Surrey, Sussex) local primary care pharmacy contract team:  england.southeastcommunitypharmacy@nhs.net

For Market Entry forms, please see Primary Care Support England website.

For more information 

Controlled drugs, accountable officer - national / local contacts

Report all controlled drug incidents to the NHS England CDAO South East using the online reporting system at cdreporting.co.uk

For more information 

Controlled drugs - schedule 2 destructions & authorised witness applications

You must apply online for an authorised witness and then wait to receive a 28 day authorisation via email PRIOR to undertaking any Schedule 2 CD destructions in the pharmacy.  You can apply online here after a quick registration and complete an application for an authorised witness on the authorised witness module:

Once the authorised witness application has been approved, by the NHS England and NHS Improvement Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer for the South East, Julie McCann, you will be sent an email with the authorisation in the main body of the email.

The authorisation email will be sent by a member of the CDAO team in the South East so could be from Julie McCann or another member of the CDAO team following Julie’s approval. This authorisation will state:

    • the name of the person authorised as the witness
    • the premises where the destruction can take place
    • and the time period covering 28 days from the date of approval of the application.

Approval may take a week or so due to the volume of applications received from across the South East

You can ensure that the process is more efficient by checking that you are complying with all requirements on the application as having to query “no” responses can increase the time taken to process the application.

For more information 

Covid -19 / Coronovirus

COVID-19: This entry is reviewed regularly and updated as required 

  • Public Information Materials with advice about stopping the spread of viruses, like coronavirus, by practicing good respiratory and hand hygiene.
  • Clearly display the COVID-19 posters and banners at entrances to your pharmacy and near your counter. Your LPC’s have arranged printing of pop-up banners from a local printer for £54+VAT and overnight delivery. Contact us for more information. 

These posters change regularly so you must access them directly from PHE website to ensure you use the most up-to-date. 

Posters are for use by Community Pharmacies and GP Practices to provide information about the coronavirus and to direct patients that think they could be infected not to enter the building).

  • Keep up to date with developments in Surrey and Sussex by regularly checking your NHSmail shared mailbox regularly for updates from NHSE&I’s regional team at ENGLAND.southeastcommunitypharmacy@nhs.net (please add this email to your safe list, if not already)

More information


Covid-19 rapid antibody tests

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has stated that it does not believe it is appropriate for COVID-19 rapid antibody tests to be sold in community pharmacies at this time.
In a letter sent to community pharmacy contractors and superintendent pharmacists on 21 July 2020, Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin outlined the GPhC’s concerns about the potential for the selling or recommendation of such antibody tests to undermine the standards and professional responsibilities of pharmacy professionals.

There is a clear expectation from GPhC that pharmacies will adhere to published guidance from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Public Health England. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should ensure they are up-to-date with national guidance issued by Government bodies and consider the wider public health impact of supplying or advising any activity that may contribute to false assurances.

More information

Covid-19 testing for community pharmacy staff and their families

COVID-19: This entry is reviewed regularly and updated as required. Last updated 29/9/2020

Frontline workers, including community pharmacy staff in England, can access free testing for COVID-19, via the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) national testing service. Testing will allow those currently unable to return to work because they or a member of their family or household have symptoms of coronavirus to know whether they do have the virus.

A new portal for booking COVID-19 tests for key workers, including community pharmacy team members, is now available for use by team members and employers: Essential workers: apply for a coronavirus test (GOV.UK)

Keep up-to-date on COVID-19 with PSNCs hub page: psnc.org.uk/coronavirus

    1. Testing facilities across Surrey and Sussex have now opened their doors to pharmacy teams and the people they live with.
      Access to testing will help pharmacy staff who are isolating at home return to work to support our essential services and care of patients.  Go to local Covid-19 testing
    2. Some manufacturers are selling products for the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection in community settings, such as pharmacies. The current view by PHE is that use of these products is not advised.

More information

COVID-19 vaccination for frontline pharmacy staff

Posted: 21 January 2021

We understand that over time community pharmacy will be able to access the vaccine through the National Booking Centre going forward; however, for the interim there needs to be local arrangements. Read more about local arrangements 

For more information

  • Contact LPC@communitypharmacyss.co.uk

Covid-19 aftercare guidance

COVID-19: This entry was added on 8 June 2020 and will be reviewed regularly and updated as required 

As we move past the first peak of this virus, and as set out in the letter of 29 April 2020 on the second phase of NHS response to COVID-19 from Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard, we are going to see increased demand for aftercare and support in community health services, primary care, and mental health.

Guidance has now been published concerning the after-care needs of inpatients recovering from COVID-19.  

Specifically, the document on the page linked to above, called After-care needs of inpatients recovering from COVID-19  is designed to support local primary care and community health services as they work with partners to develop recovery/rehabilitation services for patients after they have been discharged following an acute episode of COVID-19.

We have not linked to the document called After-care needs of inpatients recovering from COVID-19 directly to ensure that you have constant access to the most up-to-date information, should the guidance be updated.

More information

    • Contact lpc@communitypharmacyss.co.uk

Councils – districts and boroughs

It is the responsibility of local councils to collect and dispose of patient sharps.

Community pharmacists must not accept sharps of any kind from patients. Instead they should refer patients to their local authority.

This document lists local authorities in Surrey and Sussex  Sharps disposal (local authorities in Surrey and Sussex [pdf]

More information

DBS checks

We receive frequent queries from contractors about requests from commissioners for the undertaking of enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on pharmacy staff providing NHS services. Read PSNCs guidance.

For  more information

Data security & protection

Information and FAQs about Information Governance  and a Data and Security Protection (IG) Toolkit can be found on PSNCs website

For more information 

Deadline tracker

It can be tough to keep track of all the different contractual deadlines. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the most important ones, which we sent to contractors on or around the 1st of every month. Keep these dates in mind, and you’ll avoid any last minute panic.

See all Deadline Trackers

Some colleagues print it and display on their notice boards, others allocate the tasks to team members and get them to tick when completed.

For more information

Dental remote prescribing during COVID-19

Dental requests will come from REGO and look like this

During the Covid19 pandemic, Dentists in primary care have been asked by the NHS to provide advice remotely and to work with patients to defer the need for active treatment using pain control and antimicrobial treatment.

Community pharmacies may therefore see requests from Dentists to make an urgent supply without a prescription. The legal basis of the supply will be emergency supply at the request of the prescriber. Requests will be sent to community pharmacies premises/shared NHS email address via the Dental Electronic Referral System (DERs) / REGO (see image)

Pharmacy teams will need to be aware of the standard operating procedure, which has been produced by the pharmacy & dental teams at NHS England in the South East, and be mindful of The Terms of Service requirements of pharmacies and Guidance from Royal Pharmaceutical Society – see below:

For more information 

Deliveries - home delivery

COVID-19: This entry is reviewed regularly and updated as required – last update 24 March 2020: 10:55, 26 June 2020; 22 July 2020; 21 September 2020)

September 2020: This briefing note attempts to set out the current position and issues relevant to community pharmacy and collection/delivery of medicines. It will be useful to pharmacy teams and also to system partners (local authorities, the voluntary and community sector, other NHS providers, commissioners and others) who are planning and coordinating Covid-19 readiness messages.

Briefing note – Medicines delivery readiness (Sept 2020)

During the Covid-19 pandemic both patients and contractors are able to request support from volunteers, who are part of a national volunteer network mobilised in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacy contractors could also request support from these volunteers to undertake deliveries of prescriptions to any patient, not just those that are being shielded.  Read: Covid-19: accessing medicines from your local pharmacy 

During Covid-19 pandemic many volunteers have been helping patients and pharmacies. See more at ‘V’ for volunteers. 

The following information pre-dates Covid-19 and will reinstate after 31 July 2020: 

It is not a requirement of community pharmacy’s contractual framework with the NHS to provide a home delivery service, although some community pharmacists do provide this service to some patients either free-of-charge, or for a small fee. 

The LPCs in Surrey & Sussex have agreed a briefing note on this subject for contractors to download and share with their local primary care clinicians and commissioners. The content of the briefing note was shared with Surrey and Sussex local medical committees (LMCs) in October 2019 in advance of publication. The LMCs issued a notice about deliveries to GP practices, which can be read at point 5 of the briefing note.

Briefing Note – Medication Home Delivery (agreed by LPCs in January 2020)

For more information 

Diabetes helpline

NHS Diabetes Advice helpline 
NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a new helpline in response to disruption to normal diabetes services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response.

The service is for adults living with diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition and require immediate clinical advice.

Whether the patient or a member of their household has caught the virus, or routine care has been disrupted, the helpline is available for immediate clinical advice to help them understand how to effectively manage their diabetes.

Access to the NHS Diabetes Advice is via Diabetes UK’s support line on 0345 123 2399 Monday-Friday from 9am-6pm.

For more information

(added 25 May 2020)

Dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d)

The dm+d is a dictionary of descriptions and codes which represent medicines and devices in use across the NHS.

For more information

DMS (Discharge Medicines Service)

Discharge Medicines Service will be replacing TCAM as of 15/02/21, for more information click here.


Diversity and risk assessing staff

Contractors, as part of their employe / manager responsibilities, all relevant staff should be given risk assessments.

In June 2020 NHS England has put  added emphasis on those from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

See letters and resources below.

More information

Domestic Abuse

This letter reminds pharmacy staff of the key signs of domestic abuse and the services that are available to help them to support patients, seek help if they are affected or support colleagues

Following the launch of the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme that allows survivors of domestic abuse to access support from the safety of a local pharmacy we have collated contact details for domestic abuse services across Surrey and Sussex.

    • Surrey’s Domestic Abuse Helpline offers support, advice, and information on how to get help for people experiencing domestic abuse, family, friends, and professionals working with them Tel: 01483 776822 www.surreyagainstda.info
    • West Sussex. Information about services here
    • East Sussex. Safer communities partnership information here
    • Brighton and Hove. Information about services on the city council’s website here
    • The 24-hour National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247 offers confidential, non-judgemental information and support.

      Women’s Aid – information and support, email helpline@womensaid.org.uk or use the instant messaging service.

      Contact a local domestic abuse service by using the Domestic Abuse Directory.

      Patients in immediate danger, should call 999.

More information

Dosette boxes / MCA (medical compartment aids) / Blister packs

Your LPCs and the Surrey and Sussex LMC have developed local guidance for contractors and general practitioners on this subject. See ‘B’ for blister pack, above

Drug tariff

For more information

Easter Opening Hours

Easter Pharmacy Opening Hours 2021

The posters with information about which pharmacies are open across the East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey areas can be found below (content to follow).  

Please print and display the relevant poster in an area which will be visible to the public when the pharmacy is closed, and shutters are in place.

If you have not already done so, please update your information on the NHS directory of services and display your Bank Holiday hours clearly, especially when you are closed.

Opening hours information is supplied by NHS England was correct at time of publishing. Please be aware that in the event of significant change updated information will be circulated.

For more information 

Electronic repeat dispensing

For more information 

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