COVID-19 Quick Reference Information


If your pharmacy has not yet registered for free PPE and hand sanitiser through the procurement portal, see below.

Although this was initially only for those who could not obtain stock through wholesaler routes it should now be your first line for accessing masks and hand sanitiser for all staff, and gloves and aprons if you are carrying out procedures that require them. It is important to use this route as the stock is all of approved quality.. The “how to” link is below.

Use of PPE can be effective mitigation (defence) against staff being required to self-isolate, therefore maintaining business continuity.

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!
  • Requests to reduce services or opening hours should be referred to NHS England . 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Medicines returns

We are working in line with PSNC to revise guidance on taking in returned medicines from Covid-19 patients. Essex LPC is of the view that if PPE is to be worn assuming anyone could have Covid-19, even if they don’t have symptoms, then the same assumption should be made of all returned medicines.

The guidance is likely to state that if any medicines are returned the patient/representative should be asked to place them in a plastic bag that can be sealed and stored safely for 72 hours, after which time they can be handled as normal.

Details for SOP

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, Essex, 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 –