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NPA Essential: September 2020

NPA Essential

NPA Essential: September 2020

This month's news from the National Pharmacy Association...

PQS Phase 2 information - domains and criteria to be completed by pharmacy contractors (England only)

Following the announcement of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) Part 1, pharmacy contractors were informed that completing PQS Part 1 will be a gateway requirement for PQS Part 2. Further information is now available on the domains and criteria that pharmacy contractors will need to fulfil for PQS Part 2 declaration:

PQS Part 2 will commence in October 2020 with the declaration in February 2021.

• Full details of PQS Part 2, including guidance and requirements for

each criterion, how to claim payment and funding allocation will

be in the September 2020 Drug Tariff

• PQS Part 2 will have five domains, each with its own criteria – all

criteria in a particular domain need to be completed in order to

claim payment for that domain

• Where the domains require training to be completed, it is

advisable that pharmacy contractors retain a copy of the

personalised certificate provided as evidence of the training that

an individual has undertaken and completed

• Go to the NPA website and search ‘PQS’ for more information.

Resources pack to support delivery of vaccination services (including flu service) 2020/21 during Covid-19

To deliver vaccination services as safely as possible, it is important to risk assess individuals carrying out the service, as well as the pharmacy premises/workplace prior to delivering vaccination services.

Recommended actions

NPA members are recommended to exercise appropriate clinical

and professional judgement when providing vaccination services

in what we appreciate is a highly challenging, rapidly changing


• The NPA workplace risk reduction template and individual

employee risk assessment should be completed to ensure risks are

appropriately mitigated prior to expanding other services such as

vaccinations. Go to the NPA website and search for ‘vaccination


• Provisionally registered pharmacists with the GPhC must complete

a risk assessment prior to starting work which should cover services

News, views and must-dos: your update from the NPA

they aim to provide including vaccination services. The NPA has

produced a template risk assessment for provisionally registered



• Existing standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be reviewed,

and amended/updated, in light of changes to procedures due to

Covid-19. vaccinators should check with individual PGD providers

when providing private vaccination services to ensure any changes

have been implemented and the current version of the PGD is

being used.

• Use the NPA vaccination services pack to support you in risk

assessing, planning and delivering your vaccination services,

including the flu service, for the 2020-21 season.

NHS Pharmacy First Plus Scotland – read service specification (Scotland only)

Scottish Government and CPS have determined a £3.3m allocation for 2020-21 to support pharmacy contractors to provide an independent prescribing extension to the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service to be known as NHS Pharmacy First Plus.

Contractors should read the NHS Circular PCA(2020)(P)16 which provides the service specification for NHS Pharmacy First Plus, the service claim form and the explanation of the planned career pathway for community pharmacists which will increase the number of independent prescriber (IP) pharmacists available for patients to access from pharmacies.

Also this month

eLearning mock exam for provisionally registered pharmacists and pre-registration students

The online mock exam is included as part of the NPA’s Preregistration Training programme, but is now open for all – this includes those on the provisional register and pre-registration students. The mock exam can be bought directly from the NPA for £60 including VAT.

Further details on NPA’s mock exam and the free handbook can be found at

Pre-registration training

The NPA’s blended programme offers an interactive approach to learning that includes online training 24/7 via the Learning Academy, our new intuitive eLearning platform, webinars and face-to-face study days.

This year we are holding our London cohort on Sundays, which is proving so popular that we only have a few places remaining. The coming months will be challenging due to social distancing and lockdown measures but we are confident we can deliver training to meet your needs and are already planning our September study days via webinars, as these will not be delivered face-to-face. Visit our dedicated Pre-registration training page at Pre-reg for more details.

Ask Your Pharmacist (AYP) Week 2020 - 2-9 November

The National Pharmacy Association has announced that the theme of this year’s Ask Your Pharmacist Week campaign will be ‘Your local pharmacy in the NHS family’.

AYP will run from 2-9 November and as usual aims both to raise awareness of pharmacy services and to prompt conversations with key stakeholders at a local level about community pharmacy’s role and benefits.

According to an opinion survey carried out for the NPA in June, only 29 per cent of people are “definitely aware” that community pharmacies are part of the NHS, despite the fact that pharmacies are the most visited of all settings where NHS care is offered.

Campaign materials will therefore highlight pharmacy-based NHS services and that community pharmacy teams work as a team with other health service providers to deliver patient-centred care.

In preparation, the NPA is collecting case studies of integrated care in which pharmacies demonstrate great teamwork within the NHS. Please email to share yours.

PM pharmacy visits

NPA members have played host to the Health Secretary, the chief executive of the NHS and now also the

Prime Minister. It is really important that senior figures like this hear first-hand the experiences of frontline pharmacy teams, to give colour and authenticity to the representations made by pharmacy leaders nationally.

Politicians are getting the consistent message that pharmacy teams are heroes on the health service frontline and that more support is needed from government – to keep the doors open and for pharmacies to play a key role in Britain’s eventual recovery from the pandemic.

Stories from the frontline

The NPA has published online a collection of stories from pharmacy teams across the country, showcasing the value of community pharmacy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Called ‘Stories from the NHS Frontline,’ it appears at the website. We wanted to create a public platform from which pharmacy

teams could describe their experiences in their own words.

Overall it makes for an authentic and compelling story of service and resilience, about which everyone can be proud. The collection includes incidents

where pharmacy teams have gone ‘above and beyond’ to support patients and their communities. There are also stories about communities rallying round to support their local pharmacy and how pharmacy teams have innovated to respond to the challenges of coronavirus.

We’re sharing the stories with media and policy makers, so that they are reminded of the huge contribution of pharmacy teams on the NHS frontline during the coronavirus crisis. The NPA will keep Stories from the NHS Frontline updated. So you can still share your stories by emailing

New courses for NPA members

The learning and development team has been busy helping students during the lockdown. Below are the details of courses intended to upskill members of the pharmacy team...

Medicines counter and dispensing course

The new combined level 2 course will allow pharmacy staff to work on the medicines counter and in the dispensary, to meet the GPhC’s minimum training requirements for this type of role.

Heenal Malde, Lead Learning and Development Pharmacist at the NPA, says the pharmacy landscape “is constantly changing” and pharmacy support staff are often encouraged to upskill, to keep up with the demands.

“This course is particularly valuable for members as they can employ new staff members, or upskill retail staff, as it allows them to complete their training both over the medicines counter and in the dispensary, under the supervision of the pharmacist.”

Heenal adds that it is essential that the skill-set of pharmacy staff is utilised in the most efficient way.

“Dispensing and pharmacy assistants are often the first member of staff that a customer will encounter, so appropriate training is essential.”

“The course also serves as a great stepping stone for progression onto preregistration pharmacy technician trainingand a career as a pharmacy technician.”

BTEC level 3 Diploma

Principles and Practice for Pharmacy Technicians

In addition to being fully accredited by the GPhC, this course is awarded by Pearson, so pre-registration trainee pharmacy technicians will receive a nationally-recognised, specialist and professional BTEC Diploma.

Louise Baglole, Head of Learning and Development at the NPA, says: “This diploma is unlike others in the marketplace. It is an integrated course tailored to suit the needs of the learner and the pharmacy, at a time where pharmacy is changing, and the responsibility and professional recognition of pharmacy technicians is growing.”

The course comprises 22 self-study books that constitute the underpinning knowledge and competency, to be completed over two years. Competency is assessed by assessor observations in the workplace. Louise said the NPA’s BTEC course doesn’t stipulate off-the-job training.

“It gives flexibility for the employee to train and learn how they want to. This course also gives you credits to further qualifications which other approved courses don’t.”

Accuracy checking for dispensers

This course is written and designed to enable dispensers to undertake accuracy checks on dispensed prescription items competently, in accordance with the pharmacy’s own standard operating procedures (SOPs). As part of the course, learners are independently assessed and accredited by NPA learning and development pharmacists to undertake this responsible role.

Louise says the course aims to give members the peace of mind to fully optimise the skill mix within the pharmacy team.

“Essentially it gives helps to upskill the dispenser and give them a greater role in the workplace to free up time of the pharmacist.”

NPA Learning Academy

The NPA’s online learning platform is an interactive way to carry out training and converts some of the NPA courses that were previously only available on paper into an eLearning format, making them available online and on mobile devices as well.

Sureena Clement, Lead Learning and Development Pharmacist at the NPA, says the Learning Academy has proved to be “very beneficial” during the Covid-19 lockdown with much of the learning being done remotely.

“Our members have been able to meet their training needs during the lockdown as students have been able to access the learning online from the comfort of their homes.”

Pre-reg students have also benefited from the platform, she adds.

“It’s been really good for pre-reg students who we’ve been working with and doing remote webinars, study days and mocks exams. This has provided a great platform to do this.”

For more information on all NPA courses go to

New free of charge data service for NPA members

An upcoming new data service aims to help NPA members understand their businesses better by benchmarking themselves against other pharmacies...

My Pharmacy Insights, which will be launched in September, is powered by Real World Analytics (RWA) and gives NPA members the opportunity

to set and monitor business targets by comparing services and market share with other nearby pharmacies.

NPA members who use the service get a regular report, giving them visibility of what is happening in the local area in relation to prescription item growth, local pharmacies and GP practices participation. It will also help them to monitor the trends in paid services. NPA members can use these reports to deliver against their KPIs and also identify areas for potential growth.

All NPA members will get free access to a dashboard which outlines their total company and local area performance for KPIs. There’s also an opportunity to subscribe to a supplementary data service, the NPA’s Local Market Insights, which includes more detailed analysis on other local pharmacies, GP practices and services, at a special price of £60 annually.

Members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who already use an earlier version of the service, will find the latest provision, which provides better value, will replace the one they are currently using.

Simon Tebbutt, head of member relationships at the NPA, said: “When there’s so much change and uncertainty in the world, the NPA is delighted to give our members access to a new service that will help you see your business more clearly.We hope our members take full advantage of what My Pharmacy Insights has to offer and in turn make their businesses more competitive.”

Conall Lavery, CEO, Real World Analytics Ltd, said: “This is a great partnership. RWA has leading edge data analytics technology and the NPA has the trust and reach to thousands of pharmacies across the UK. The best performing companies in the world today use data for decision making, but it can be at a significant investment. This partnership brings a first class solution to community pharmacy.”

Go to for more information.

The role of health and safety training and its importance during Covid-19

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must, “so far as is reasonably practicable” provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision is necessary to ensure the health and safety of their employees at work.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 adds that health and safety training is particularly important:

• When people start work.

• On exposure to new or increased risks,

such as Covid-19.

• Where existing skills become rusty or need


Other regulations

A number of other regulations also include specific health and safety training requirements such as first aid. In addition, the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 and Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 also require that you consult your employees or their representatives on health and safety issues.

Consulting with employees and involving them in the risk assessment process can result in a much safer workplace, as your employees will have first-hand knowledge of hazards and will be well placed to help you assess risks and develop ways to control or remove them.

Like many employers, you may not be able to provide the required training on your own. You may appoint or seek help from a “competent person”. This is someone who has the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to help meet the requirements of health and safety law.

Ellis Whittam can provide this competent assistance, including bespoke health and safety training.

Who needs health and safety training?

Everyone working for you needs to know how to work safely and without risk to their health.

Do your managers or supervisors know what’s expected of them in terms of delivering health and safety? Training will help them to understand your Health & Safety Policy, including your objectives, your approach to managing health and safety, and where they fit in. Training may also be needed in the specific hazards present in your workplace or associated with your processes and how you expect these risks to be controlled.

This might include developing and providing training in safe systems of work. Are your employees up to speed with how to identify the hazards and control the risks arising from their work? If not, they need health and safety training. They similarly need to know about your health and safety policy, your arrangements for implementing it, and the part they play, as well as how to raise any health and safety concerns.

Contractors and self-employed workers who aren’t familiar with your working environment and safety systems may also need basic health and safety training. Any contractor entering your premises during coronavirus will need to understand your arrangements for keeping them, your staff and others safe.

Finally, do you as an employer or senior leader understand your responsibilities? Are you competent in health and safety strategy and the development of management systems? Do you know how to create a Covid-secure workplace? If not, then you may also benefit from health and safety training.

For more information contact the NPA Employment Advisory Service on 0330 123 0558 or email

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) during Covid-19

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013 requires employers, or someone in control of a premises (the Responsible Person) to report and keep records of certain work-related accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences.

Reportable injuries include all deaths arising from a work-related accident, ‘specified injuries’ which are listed in RIDDOR 2013 Regulation 4, and injuries incapacitating an employee for more than seven consecutive days, excluding the day of the accident. Injuries incapacitating an employee for more than three consecutive days need to be recorded only.

Reporting timeframes

• If an incident falls under the dangerous occurrences category, it is required to be reported, without delay, and within 10 days.

• If an incident falls under the occupational disease category, it is required to be reported as soon as is possible, once the Responsible Person receives the diagnosis.

If an employer misses the required timeframes for reporting, then the report can, and should still be made, as not reporting at all can lead to prosecution. A report after the required timeframes may be challenged, therefore, record the reason why reporting was delayed, for example, lack of/clarity of information about the incident, annual leave, etc. However, employers should focus on ensuring a RIDDOR report is made without unnecessary delay and as soon as is possible.

RIDDOR during COVID-19

Only cases of, or deaths from, occupational exposure of Covid-19 need to be reported under RIDDOR. Employers should note the following circumstances in which a report under RIDDOR is required:

• If an unintended incident takes place at work leading to someone’s actual or possible Covid-19 exposure, which would need to be reported under RIDDOR as a ‘dangerous occurrence’

• If an employee is diagnosed with Covid-19 and there is reasonable evidence to indicate this was caused by exposure at work, which would need to be reported under RIDDOR as a ‘case of disease’

• If an employee passes away as a result of exposure to Covid-19 at work, which would need to be reported under RIDDOR as a ‘work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent.’

Not all dangerous occurrences require reporting. For it to be reportable, the incident needs to have resulted, or could have resulted, in coronavirus escape/release, leading to an actual/possible exposure to it.

Guidance from Ellis Whittam, NPA business partner

Enforcing authorities tend to understand if there has been a delay in reporting outside of the 10-day timeframe due to the diagnosis of Covid-19 in the case of infection or death.

Ellis Whittam online information and support:

For further information please contact the NPA Pharmacy Services team on 01727 891 800 or email

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