Here at CPS we depend on our ability to provide our members and contractors with reliable support and uninterrupted service.

Health Board Specific Information & Guidance for COVID-19

This section provides pharmacy teams with guidance on COVID-19 Health Board specific information including resilience HUBs and testing for key workers etc.

COVID Risk Assessments

The emerging evidence surrounding COVID-19 is increasingly highlighting that certain population subgroups are likely to have far worse outcomes than others if they become infected with the virus (for example, BAME colleagues and male colleagues amongst others). We would encourage members to work with their HR partners to undertake individual risk assessments. Having reviewed the available UK materials for those who do not have this facility, we believe that the following resources are the most comprehensive and up to date – these may be used to help you in your approach to risk assessments and risk reduction for the workplace, workforce and individuals within your business. Please note that they are subject to change, serve only to inform your approach and do not constitute advice.
NHS Employers risk assessment framework: This gives a broad overview of how to approach COVID risk assessments in general, with some specifics around higher risk groups.

NHS Wales Workforce risk assessment tool: This is a more practical tool, going into further detail and including a scoring tool to aid with risk stratification (please be aware that this scoring system is based on evidence which is currently under peer review pre-publication.

PCA(P)(2020)09 - Smoking Cessation service delivery during COVID-19

Circular PCA(P)(2020)09 aids community pharmacy teams in supporting people through their smoking quit attempt by outlining some temporary flexibility in how the national service can be delivered and support that may be available from local specialist smoking cessation teams.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE for COVID-19) Guidance for pharmacy teams

UPDATED 05/06/20 - You will now all have received supplies of fluid-resistant surgical facemasks for wearing at all times in your pharmacies to help protect yourselves, your colleagues and your communities from the spread of COVID 19. It should be noted that every effort should still be made to maintain the 2 metres social distancing. Guidance on how to wear the masks is available at appendix 2 of the Primary Care Guidance -

Disposal of PPE

At the end of a session involving use of PPE, masks should be placed in a disposable plastic bag, then placed in a secondary disposal bag, tied and held for 72 hours before being placed in the pharmacy’s domestic waste bin. If the pharmacy has a clinical waste contract or arrangements have been put in place with your local NHS Board, masks once removed can be placed into the clinical waste immediately. 

Reordering PPE - 0300 303 5550

A telephone reordering system specifically for pharmacies to order face masks will be in place from Monday 20 April. This can be accessed on the following number, 0300 303 5550 – this line will be supported Monday – Friday between 08:00 – 20:00. You will be required to have your contractor code and post code to hand when ordering. Orders will be limited to 2 boxes of 50 masks each time to help manage supply. We would ask that you do not place an order until it is necessary and be mindful of the expected delivery time of 2 working days. Orders will be delivered by courier.

Please note: stock supplied may include those from the national stockpile that had an original expiry date dating back typically to 2016. As per the Interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr Gregor Smith’s letter of 17 March to Boards, this stock has been subject to rigorous assessment and shelf-life extension by the manufacturer and is therefore safe to use.

Test and Protect: PPE guidance for pharmacy teams

UPDATED 05/06/20 - The Test and Protect scheme which is central to Scotland being able to ease out of lockdown is now live in Scotland. There are no special arrangements for key workers, so if a member of your pharmacy team becomes symptomatic, a contact tracer will carry out an interview with them to determine whether the rest of the team, or any individual, are likely to have been exposed through close contact to the virus or not.

The three key things that help to reduce the risk of your team being classed as exposed to the virus are to undertake regular and frequent handwashing, to maintain physical distancing of 2m between colleagues and to wear the recommended PPE of fluid-resistant surgical masks at all times in the pharmacy. We know that maintaining 2m physical distancing will be a challenge in some environments, even where adaptations to layout and working patterns have been made, so this makes the use of PPE even more critical. Doing so will give you the best shot at keeping your pharmacy open for the people in your communities that you work so hard to look after each day.

There will be a small minority of team members with medical conditions for whom wearing this type of mask may pose a challenge. For these colleagues, a risk assessment of  the individual’s environment and their role should be undertaken to identify any reasonable changes that might need to be made to achieve 2m physical distancing.

We are also working with NSS on the PPE ordering process in terms of quantities and streamlining the experience, which we will share more detail on as we have it.

Harry McQuillan (CEO) & Matt Barclay (DoO) have put together some video messages to advise our network around the current issues surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak in Community Pharmacies in Scotland:

CPS's Matt Barclay provides this weeks Friday night update concerning NHS Pharmacy First Scotland, NHS Near Me and provides COVID-19 risk assessment guidance

CPS's Matt Barclay is back with the latest Pharmacy Update with latest developments and guidance around the "new normal". Topics in today's video include Test, Trace, Isolate and Support, PPE, NHS Near Me and much more.

Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (TTIS) approach to COVID-19

You may have seen that the Scottish Government have published a paper outlining their plans to manage viral spread in the general population, focusing in the main on testing, contact tracing and self-isolation. The document reads as though this approach may have a significant impact on community pharmacy workforce, but we understand that it is only one piece of a wider strategy.

Please be assured that we are working with our Scottish Government and NHS colleagues to better understand what the future approach for key workers might be, and as soon as we have further information we will share this with you.

Changes to the PVG Scheme

Disclosure Scotland have made temporary changes to how applications are processed.  They have been working closely with the Scottish Government and key stakeholders on their response to COVID-19.  In addition to their prioritisation of checks for roles in pharmaceuticals and healthcare, changes to processing means they are now no longer accepting paper applications.

As of the 26th March 2020, The UK Coronavirus Bill, passed by the UK Parliament.  It affects the PVG Scheme in 3 ways:

  • Organisations recruiting staff ahead of a PVG check can do so without the risk of committing an offence
  • Disclosure Scotland can process all PVG disclosures as if a check of the UK barred lists had been requested
  • Barred individuals who try to exploit these changes will be reported to Police Scotland

Applications from pharmacy staff will be prioritised by Disclosure Scotland to minimise any delay in processing.  Further information can be found on the Disclosure Scotland COVID-19 page along with guidance on how to apply with the online application forms.

Community Pharmacy Scotland acts as an umbrella body counter signing PVG applications on behalf of community pharmacy contractors.  If you need to complete an application to join the PVG Scheme or an existing member application form, please complete and email them along with the 3 different forms of identification to our mail box where they will be countersigned and then sent on to Disclosure Scotland.  Please include your mobile number in the email with the application in case we need to contact you.

Please note Disclosure Scotland has suspended all fees for key workers and volunteers who are being drafted to help Scotland fight against coronavirus until 25th December 2020.

Further guidance on how to complete the forms can be found on the PVG section, disregarding the payment information.

If you have a volunteer supporting in a critical role they can apply for a basic disclosure here.

Please contact the Pharmacy Services team on 0131 466 3540 or email with any questions you may have.

Prison Health Centre Contact Details

Early release of prisoners – handwritten prescriptions. Below are the contact numbers for the prison health centres who may be able to confirm prescription details if you feel this is necessary. click on the image to view

Prisoner Release Letter

The following letter from Quentin Fisher, Deputy Director of the Community Justice Division concerns the powers in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 which allow for the early release of certain prisoners: click on the image to view

Management of patients in primary care Including general dental practice, general medical practice, optometry and pharmacy (17/4/2020).

Letter from the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (17/3/2020) clarifying the shelf life extension to facemasks

A letter from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr. Rosemarie Parr. (9/4/2020)

A letter from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr. Rosemarie Parr. (30/3/2020)

April 2020 Drug Tariff Reset (1/4/2020)

Community Pharmacy Scotland and the Scottish Government agreed upon a 3 year funding deal which comes into effect as of today the 1st April 2020.

This is a hugely positive step forward, providing stability and predictability for the community pharmacy network, Scottish Government and NHS Health Boards and allowing adequate time and space to develop and embed pharmaceutical care services. We detailed all aspects of the funding package for 2020/21 to 2022/23 in our key facts document complimenting the Scottish Government Circular PCA (P) (2020) 2 and want to highlight in particular today the two aspects agreed around the mapping further monies, as we have done in previous years from the tariff, into the global sum for guaranteed income and using this same method of tariff reduction to pay back what is owed by the network to NHS Health Boards. This removes the need for a clawback mechanism.

We understand during this unprecedented time the pressures that you are experiencing in all daily ways of working. We continue to work in supporting you in all ways we can from securing a 3 month advance payment in April to cover costs, to workforce support, to our daily videos of updates and morale boosting shout outs.

Therefore, we felt it only right to highlight to you that there are a significant number of changes for April in this tariff reset, published today, to go in hand with the above mentioned agreements with the Scottish Government. We recognise in this current climate the ongoing concern regarding medicine cost and shortages you are experiencing and these changes to the tariff may exacerbate this further. In conjunction with the Scottish Government we believe the agreement laid out above should continue and if the tariff comes under pressure this is treated separately and any necessary actions are then taken.

You will also note the number of adjusted prices lines have reduced on the website due to this tariff reset.  We are implementing in the coming days, a temporary measure to make it quick and easy for you to report shortages to us. We will continue to monitor these and negotiate with the relevant departments at NSS agreements for adjusted prices as we do on a weekly basis, with Sertraline being a recent example. 

If you have any questions about the April Drug Tariff please do not hesitate to contact the Pharmacy Services team on 0131 466 3540 or email

Support & Resources

We are currently looking at a number of ways in which we can offer support and protection to our members throughout this outbreak. CPS are continuing to have detailed discussions with Scottish Government officials in order to get the best support and resources for community pharmacies in Scotland that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will be looking at several areas to agree arrangements for such as:

  • Safety and protection of the pharmacy team using available and current guidelines.
  • Financial stability (Particularly for those pharmacies who have to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 outbreak)
  • Operational support (i.e. resources to support the pharmacies day-to-day functions)

There will continue to be updates regarding these circumstances as and when we get them.

Important service changes from Alliance Healthcare 

Alliance Healthcare have announced some important service changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will impact returns that are ordered in error, cut off times for AM & PM orders and the picking process with priority moving to essential POM medicines. Click the links below to read the announcement in full.

Service Change Announcement

Key Worker's template letter for pharmacy teams.

Pharmacy Teams - Key Workers

Pharmacy Teams are in Category 1

We have produced a template letter for Pharmacy Owners and Superintendents to use for their teams to provide the necessary details to schools and local authorities.

We understand that the next stage is for schools to make contact with parents and carers with details of plans for the coming week. Some local authorities have already done this.

As we receive more information, we will publish it on the website.

Details of John Swinney’s Statement can be found here:

Please send any questions to

COVID-19: Key Workers Police Scotland letter

We are aware of police officers stopping pharmacy team members on their way to and from work, as well as stopping delivery drivers on their routes. We have been in contact with Police Scotland who have confirmed that this patrolling is likely to continue as a potential enforcement measure for those not following government advice. Whilst NHS and Local authority workers have standardised proof that their work is essential, community pharmacy workers do not. We have agreed with Police Scotland to draft a covering letter which should be filled out with your details and branch-stamped. This will be available on our website shortly in the COVID-19 area. Each member of the team should carry a copy to speed up the process if stopped, and we are told that this will be accepted by officers.

COVID-19: NHS Community Pharmacy team Dedicated Shopping Slot letter

As of Thursday 26th March 2020 both Tesco and Morrison's are on board to accept our letter - we will update you as soon as we have more information about any other supermarkets.

Coronavirus Communications Toolkit

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 

Health Protection Scotland have developed guidance and other information concerning COVID-19 at you can also find specific guidance for pharmacists on their website.

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.”

Coronavirus Stop & Think Poster

Click on the poster below for a printable version.

Coronavirus Poster

Coronavirus your Help Poster

Click on the poster below for a printable version.