Suggested Learning

NPA Essential: December 2021

This month’s key notes

New paper FP34C forms and changes to end of month prescription sorting requirements 

The NHS Business Service Authority (NHSBSA) will be posting out a new paper version of the FP34C submission form for pharmacy contractors wishing to continue to make paper submissions. Paper FP34C submissions will only be available until March 2022 (for prescriptions dispensed in February 2022), thereafter it will be mandatory to submit FP34C submission data through the NHSBSA Manage your Service (MYS) portal. Pharmacy contractors are strongly encouraged to start submitting FP34C data electronically through MYS portal by fifth of the month.

From November 2021, pharmacy contractors who make their monthly FP34C submissions through the MYS portal will benefit from the earlier advanced payment timetable. Pharmacy contractors who continue to use the new paper FP34C submission form will not receive earlier advance payments but will receive advance payments in accordance with current payment timetable. 

The end of month paper prescription sorting requirements have also been updated. Key changes to the revised paper FP34C submission form include: 

• Updated red separator sorting criteria to now include prescriptions endorsed with FS (free supply of sexual health treatment), SSP (supplies in accordance with a Serious Shortage Protocol), Bulk and HMP (prisoner’s on release by Her Majesty’s Prison Service) 

• Changes to ETP Token submission requirement to submit ETP Tokens for non-payment (except for: age exempt patients, prescriptions where only free-of-charge (FOC) items are prescribed, and where Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC) confirms an exemption) 

For full details read the NPA update here: bit.ly/2YBnuny. 

COVID-19 vaccine booster programme updated 

The Department of Health and Social Care have updated their guidance to allow for certain vulnerable patients to be given COVID-19 booster vaccines earlier than six months and to allow bookings for booster vaccines to be made one month in advance. 

For further details, read the full NPA member update here: 



Launch of the NPA Red flag factsheet 

The NPA has developed a red flag factsheets to support pharmacy teams. The factsheet includes a number of common conditions including fever in children, back pain, common cold, cough, diarrhoea and vomiting, ear infections, meningitis, eczema, headaches, and heartburn. Each factsheet highlights symptoms that may be indicative of more serious conditions requiring further investigation or referral. The factsheet can be found on the NPA website here: bit.ly/3CZsQb4 

NMS resources 

The NPA has developed the following resources to support pharmacy contractors provide the New Medicine Service (NMS) service including an overview, patient record form, template Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and FAQs. This is following the changes to the NMS from October 2021. Visit the NPA NMS hub here: bit. ly/3C3W5bi 

NPA organises ‘Ministers Month’! 

Within a period of four weeks the NPA helped to arrange four health minister visits to NPA member pharmacies. This included the Secretary State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, Pharmacy Minister Maria Caulfield. 

As well as learning about new and established pharmacy services, the Ministers all received their flu jab at the pharmacy too. Other MP visits that the NPA helped to arrange during October and November included Tonia Antoniazzi MP, Dr Philippa Whitford MP and Alex Norris MP. 

Andrew Lane, NPA chair, met with some of the Ministers during their visit and handed them a copy of the NPA’s recently published ‘How We Can Help’ report. 

He said: “Events like these help politicians see first-hand the care pharmacies provide and also encourage others to get vaccinated.” 

For more information on NPA’s How We Can Help report go to www.npa.co.uk/representing-you/how-we-can-help/

NPA survey: Expectations grow for what pharmacies can deliver 

According to an online survey carried out for the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) in October, a third of people (32%) are unaware that pharmacies offer flu jabs and four in ten (39%) don’t know pharmacies have consultation areas from which a range of NHS services are provided. 

The results were released ahead of the NPA’s Ask Your Pharmacist public awareness campaign, which ran from 1-8 November. Only half the adult population (48%) know you can get advice on managing your weight at pharmacies, but 66% know that blood pressure monitoring is offered in some pharmacies. 

According to the survey, many people want pharmacies to play a greater role supporting people with mental health and in care homes (39% and 40% respectively). Also 45% see their local pharmacy as the “first port of call” for minor illnesses, compared to 27% saying their GP, 17% NHS111 and 6% A&E. 

NPA board member Reena Barai, who took part in radio broadcasts for Ask Your Pharmacist Week, said: “These figures show how much further we need to go to get the message across about the range of services on offer in community pharmacies. Campaigns like Ask Your Pharmacist Week help ensure that people don’t miss out on the support available, which includes the several new NHS services coming on line in 2021.” 

FAQs: NHS Community pharmacy hypertension case-finding Advanced Service (England) 

To help members find answers to common questions on the hypertension case-finding Advanced Service the NPA has put together FAQs. See some of them below: 

Who can provide the Hypertension Advanced Service? 

The service must be provided by a pharmacist; this is due to current VAT rules. However, non-pharmacist members of the pharmacy team can offer the service to patients/identify eligible patients to: 

• Promote the service proactively. 

• Support recruitment of patients. 

• Signpost patients who are not eligible for the service to other appropriate local services, which may include a private pharmacy blood pressure service. 

• Contact the patient if they fail to attend scheduled appointments to be fitted with the ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) device, or to return it and discuss readings. 

How do I urgently refer patients to the GP if required? 

The pharmacist is required to telephone the patient’s GP and send the results electronically immediately via NHSmail or other locally agreed secure digital process. Depending on the results and urgency, and if the GP practice is not open or uncontactable, then follow the appropriate locally agreed process. 

The pharmacy staff are trained to do blood pressure checks - why can’t they do this part of the Hypertension Advanced Service? 

This is due to current VAT rules. If the VAT rules change, it may be possible for other members of the pharmacy team to support provision of this service under the supervision of the pharmacist. 

Can I provide the service to someone below the age of 40 years? 

The following groups of people under the age of 40 years are eligible: 

• Patients, by exception, under the age of 40 who request the service because they have a recognised family history of hypertension may be provided the service at the pharmacist’s discretion. 

• Patients between 35 and 39 years who are approached about, or request the service, may be tested at the pharmacist’s discretion. 

• Adults specified by a general practice for the measurement of blood pressure (clinic and ambulatory blood pressure checks). This process should be agreed locally with general practices. 

Do I have to upload the dataset onto the MYS portal each time the service is provided or at the end of the month in which the service has been provided? 

Monthly. If, after a clinic check, an ABPM is to be undertaken; however, this happens to be in the following month, then the dataset for the complete service provision should be reported once both elements (clinic check and ABPM) have been completed. 

What records do I need to keep? And how long do I need to keep records for? 

The following records are to be kept: 

• Verbal consent to cover the measurements of blood pressure and sharing of information. 

• Clinical record of the consultation and blood pressure results, including dataset to be reported to the MYS portal 

For post-payment verifications, records need to be kept for a minimum of two years after the service takes place. However, the retention period beyond these two years is to be determined in-line with the NHS Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care and should be documented within the SOP. Full details can be found in the Service Specification. 

For the full FAQ go to bit.ly/3opoMLo

NPA calendars help to raise money for mental health charity 

Over £300 has been raised for mental health charities by the creators of the 2022 National Pharmacy Association (NPA) Calendar, after they donated five per cent of orders during Ask Your Pharmacist week. 

The NPA, who worked with print specialists ASKPrint to create their 2022 pharmacy calendars, will give the funds raised to MIND, SAMH and Inspire – the NPA’s charities for its centenary year. 

The calendars, available as a tailored order, featuring a pharmacy logo and contact details, is aimed at customers and patients with the ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ theme. Each month picks up a different aspect of health, lifestyle, practical precautions or ways to find help from your pharmacy. 

Adrian England, Marketing Manager at the NPA said: “We’re grateful to ASKPrint for partnering on this generous fundraiser to support these charities. 

“The calendars are a great way to boost a pharmacy’s business network and keep them in close touch with some of their best local community customers, by reminding them each day – and freshly each month - where they are. 

“With costs as low as £1.59 per calendar, ASKPrint are also offering free UK Delivery on orders of 50 or more.” 

For more information or to order, visit www.askprint.co.uk/npa

Vaccination training delegate feedback 

Over 110 NPA delegates attended face-to-face vaccination training sessions delivered by ECG Training in September. Ninety-two per cent of these rated the trainer’s teaching style as Excellent or Very good and 90% rated their overall experience as Outstanding or Excellent. 

Here are a few of the comments made as to what was the most enjoyable/useful part of the sessions: 

• Acting out the emergency CPR 

• Practising drawing up doses 

• Very knowledgeable and informative trainer. Highly recommended 

• Learning about reconstituting COVID-19 vaccines, as never covered that before 

• Interaction with other delegates and tutor who was excellent 

• The hands-on knowledge from the trainer. Very practical advice and having anecdotes relating to their work made it easy to remember detail. 

To sign up for vaccination training visit: www.ecgtraining.co.uk/npa/

Mock exam for trainees sitting assessment in mid-November 

A reminder for any trainee pharmacists who are sitting their GPhC assessment in mid-November, the NPA’s eLearning mock exam is available for £50 +VAT. It enables students to practise full Part 1 and Part 2 mock exam questions in advance of the assessment. 

More details can be found her: www.npa. co.uk/training/foundation/mock-exam 

Note: Students of the NPA’s Foundation training (formerly Pre-registration) will have already sat the mock exam as part of the programme. 

NPA backs call for national self-care strategy 

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) is among leading healthcare and industry bodies urging the Government to implement a national self-care strategy as the NHS seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal is set out in a new document, “Realising the potential: Developing a blueprint for a self-care strategy for England”, backed jointly by NPA, NHS Clinical Commissioners, the Royal College of Nursing, the Self Care Forum, the Company Chemists Association, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the National Association of Primary Care, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies and PAGB, the consumer healthcare association. 

Together we are calling for a co-ordinated policy drive to improve understanding of self-treatable health conditions, enhance the role of pharmacy and steer people away from unnecessary GP consultations and visits to A&E. 

The blueprint says pharmacy should be integrated more fully into the health system in order to encourage and support self-care, with recommendations that: 

• Pharmacists should be able to update as well as read individuals’ medical records; 

• Pharmacists should have the right to refer people directly to other healthcare professionals, so that anyone visiting a pharmacy as a first option knows it will lead them either to the best self-care advice or to another appropriate expert; 

• Self-care should be taught in primary and secondary schools and included in healthcare professionals’ training curricula. 

The group says the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a shift in attitudes as people followed Government advice to self-care wherever possible. This offers a ‘unique opportunity’ to embed self-care fully into the NHS, freeing up resources such as GP appointments and A&E slots for those who need them most. 

In 2020, a PAGB survey found that 69% of people who would not previously have considered self-care said they would do so after the pandemic. In a similar survey in June 2021, that figure had fallen to 54%. However, the proportion saying they had visited a pharmacy for advice rose from 37% to 47%. 

Helga Mangion, Policy Manager at the NPA said: “We support these proposals, which acknowledge that community pharmacy will need to be front and centre of any serious effort to boost self-care. As the front door to the NHS, community pharmacy is an essential element of whole-systems support for self-care, leading to better health outcomes and improved quality of life.” 

To the full report go to: bit.ly/3D3ctu4

New law restricting Botox and fillers for people under the age of 18 years 

A new law prohibiting the administration of botulinum toxin and fillers for cosmetic purposes, to people under the age of 18 years has come into force.

The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 came into force on 1 October 2021 in England and applies to all individuals and businesses. The measure aims to protect young people from the health risks that botulinum toxin and cosmetic fillers can potentially cause. The law also applies to people under 18 years where consent for treatment has been provided by someone with parental responsibility and to those visiting from outside England.

Individuals or businesses who do not comply with the law are liable to be criminally prosecuted and an unlimited fine. 

What changes has the new law introduced? 

The Act makes it a criminal offence: 

• To administer botulinum toxin (commonly known as ‘Botox’) or a filler by injection for a cosmetic purpose, to a person under the age of 18 years 

o An exception to the law is where treatment has been approved by a doctor, for a clinical need and is then administered by an appropriately trained and qualified doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist 

• To book appointments or make arrangements to administer botulinum toxin (commonly known as ‘Botox’) or a filler by injection for a cosmetic purpose, to a person under the age of 18 years 

What does the new law mean for community pharmacies? 

• Injections of botulinum toxin or a filler cannot be administered for cosmetic purposes, to a person under the age of 18 years, irrespective of whether consent has been given by a parent or guardian 

o These treatments can be administered by a registered pharmacist, trained in aesthetics, after approval by a registered medical practitioner (doctor) where there is a clinical need 

• It is an offence for pharmacists and pharmacy teams to book appointments or make arrangements to provide treatment to anyone under the age of 18 years 

• It is an offence for pharmacy owners, in the course of their business, to allow a person to administer or make arrangements to administer botulinum toxin or a filler for cosmetic purposes to a person under the age of 18 years unless the treatment has been approved by a registered medical practitioner and the registered healthcare professional administering the treatment is a pharmacist, doctor, dentist or nurse. 

For further information go to: bit.ly/3ogwtmR

Christmas and New Year’s Bank Holiday Reminder 

Community pharmacies are not required to remain open during named bank holidays, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day as set out in the NHS Regulations. 

Community pharmacies can remain closed without the need of notice, unless directed by NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) to open their pharmacies. In the event that these dates fall on a weekend, substitute days are given on a weekday. 

Please be aware that this year, Boxing Day (26 December 2021) and New Year’s Day (1 January 2022) are normal working days. 

For further information go to: bit.ly/3nmtOJ4

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