Coronavirus COVID-19

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

UPDATE (08/04/2020)

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

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:

Following today's Board Meeting Matt Barclay provides a quick update concerning PPE and finances, as well as bringing back the shout outs and the quiz.

Tonight's Podcast is brought to you by Harry McQuillan with the latest guidance concerning the COVID-19 outbreak and it's effect on community pharmacy in Scotland.

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 2 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 mailbox here 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 is suspending all fees for key workers and volunteers who are being drafted to help Scotland fight against coronavirus.  This is a temporary measure which will be in place for an initial period of six weeks, before being reviewed and extended further, if needed.

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.

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

COVID-19 Testing of key healthcare workers’

The Scottish Government has given advice to Health Boards that the testing of key healthcare workers’ family members for Coronavirus should be put in place. This will facilitate a quick return to work where e.g. a child has a cough and the household has to isolate for 14 days. If the child tested negative, then normal work could resume. This will take time to put into practice, and will happen at different times across the country as lab capacity varies. We will update the COVID-19 health board area of our website below in due course to outline how pharmacy teams access this testing in each Health Board area as and when we learn about it becoming available:

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

A further update on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr. Rosemarie Parr. (27/3/2020)

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.

Prescription Collection – Thursday 2nd April 2020

We understand during these unprecedented times, the last thing on your mind and to do list is to have your prescriptions ready for pick up on Thursday 2nd April 2020. As Matt said on Sunday’s video you may want to throw something while you read this!

Please can we ask you to spend some time from now until Thursday morning to prepare the prescriptions in your usual way along with the GP34, all be it in a much larger volume, using as many bags as you need to make sure they are safe and secure as each bag should only contain approx. 6000 prescriptions.  Don’t forget when using more than one bag to put a note in each bag stating that this is 1 of 2 bags or 2 of 2 bags etc…

We have spoken with Parcelforce who have advised their drivers to present their ID on arrival so please look out for them so that they can pick up in a timely manner as they won’t be able to queue in any systems you have in place.  They have also been advise to be mindful of any social distancing measures to allow the pick up to be done safely between themselves and your teams.

If you have any questions, need more bags (we will top up your allocation at a later date to see you through the year) or miss the collection please contact the Pharmacy Services team on 0131 466 3540 or email