Covid 19 – your FAQ 12th March

Business Continuity Plans

We’ve had a few queries about these, remember they are your plans and need to work for your business.

  • You should make sure at least one copy is available “off site” in case you can’t get in, and plan for everything up to the point of no staff available and having to close.
  • You do not have to share these with any commissioners/service leads/practices. We are aware that some have asked for them, you just need to let them know that you have one!
  • If you do have to reduce services or opening hours you should let NHS England know on , but we are happy to do this on your behalf if you are struggling. Also please let them/us know when you are back to normal!
  • If you do have to close completely make sure you return prescriptions to the spine where possible: If things are looking like a closure is likely try and limit the number that you access from the spine so that you won’t have uncollected dispensed prescriptions in the pharmacy.
  • Your staff cannot hand out prescriptions that have already been checked, or sell P medicines, if the pharmacist is not on the premises.

Suspected cases

  • Make sure you have the most recent poster on your door to discourage patients with suspected covid-19 infection from entering the premises. I have also seen some really nice notices to let patients know that staff will be trying to keep a 2m distance from members of the public, if I see something downloadable I will forward it.
  • Patients should ideally contact the NHS 111 online covid-19 page which will tell them what they need to do. Alternatively they can call NHS 111.
  • As per the SOP you should ONLY put patients in your designated isolation room if they are clearly too unwell to go home. They (or you!) should contact NHS 111 as above for instructions.
  • You will need to decontaminate the isolation room according to the SOP. This is what the PPE is for!
  • You will need to bag up the waste and quarantine it until the patient is confirmed as positive or not. Details from local Health Protection Team Healthcare professional number 01603 481221
  • It is still late winter/early spring so there are still normal colds about, and we are moving into hayfever season for tree pollen and some weeds.

Details for SOP.

Please see below, thanks to George at NHSE for this. Although the lead for commissioning is David Barter it is probably sensible to go directly to:

And of course we are here to support you as required


– Regional/local health protection team

PHE East of England Health Protection Team,
Second Floor Goodman House, Station approach Harlow,
CM20 2ET;

Out of hours for health professionals only: phone 01603 481 221

– NHS Regional Pharmacist – Richard Seal

– NHS Local Pharmacy Network (LPN) chair – Jane Newman-

– Local Pharmaceutical Committee – Karen Samuel-Smith – or 01245 460079

– Local NHS lead for commissioning – David Barter – however usual first point of contact

– Local NHS Incident Room –

– Local Infection Prevention and Control Team – Frances Bolger, Head of Infection Control and Prevention –