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Coronavirus: guidance from health organisations for pharmacy owners

As the coronavirus outbreak develops in Scotland, various organisations have released guidance for healthcare professionals – some of this relates directly to community pharmacy businesses, so we have pulled together the resources that we are aware of for you to use in considering how to preserve continuity of care for your patients below:

  • NHS Inform website – this will always be kept up to date with the latest information and advice.
  • GPhC and other regulators’ statement – As with the Beast from the East, the regulators have come together to acknowledge that in challenging times, healthcare professionals may need to operate in ways that they wouldn’t normally to look after patients. It is recommended that any decisions to work differently should be recorded so that the full context can be taken into account should anything untoward happen as a result. As always, individual professional judgement must be applied, and it may be worth speaking with your superintendent if you are considering a departure from SoPs or the law.
  • The RPS in Scotland have endorsed and supported this move, commenting that: 

“We are very pleased to see this statement from GPhC which reassures pharmacists that they have a flexible approach to regulation and encourages use of professional judgement in the best interests of patients. Sometimes there are circumstances where you can’t follow normal procedure. This is fine provided what you do has been thought through, can be justified professionally and is then properly recorded. For RPS Members - The MEP and a quick reference guide to Professional Judgement gives helpful support and guidance on how to think through the professional decision making process. Updates and links to the latest guidance on the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) are available on our website hub page which also has the contract details for the confidential support helpline for any queries on practice issues or wider matters.”

NHS Inform Logo

NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government have created a Coronavirus Communications Toolkit. It contains information on procedures / processes for managing risk, key messages & links to resources. You'll find the communication toolkit and more information at https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus 

Health Protection Scotland Logo

Health Protection Scotland have developed guidance and other information concerning COVID-19 at https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/covid-19/ you can also find specific guidance for pharmacists on their website.

GPhC and other regulators’ statement – As with the Beast from the East, the regulators have come together to acknowledge that in challenging times, healthcare professionals may need to operate in ways that they wouldn’t normally to look after patients. It is recommended that any decisions to work differently should be recorded so that the full context can be taken into account should anything untoward happen as a result. As always, individual professional judgement must be applied, and it may be worth speaking with your superintendent if you are considering a departure from SoPs or the law.

Our colleagues at the RPS have produced this poster which you may find heloful in supporting communication of the current COVID 19 situation to our patients. You can print off a copy, either colour or black and white by clicking the image below or by going to the RPS website at: https://www.rpharms.com/coronavirus/ 

The RPS in Scotland have endorsed and supported this move, commenting that: 

“We are very pleased to see this statement from GPhC which reassures pharmacists that they have a flexible approach to regulation and encourages use of professional judgement in the best interests of patients. Sometimes there are circumstances where you can’t follow normal procedure. This is fine provided what you do has been thought through, can be justified professionally and is then properly recorded. For RPS Members - The MEP and a quick reference guide to Professional Judgement gives helpful support and guidance on how to think through the professional decision making process. Updates and links to the latest guidance on the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) are available on our websitehubpage which also has the contract details for the confidential support helpline for any queries on practice issues or wider matters.”

Community Pharmacy Scotland are very aware of the implications to our mental health caused by a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation has released the following document  with guideline and information on how to best take care of your mental health in these trying times.