1st July 2020 Update
ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO SUPPORT ACCESS TO PALLIATIVE CARE MEDICINES DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
You will be aware from previous correspondence that in order to increase availability of palliative care medicines during the COVID 19 pandemic the HSCB commissioned enhanced access for the dispensing of prescriptions from (i) community pharmacies and (ii) HSC Trust pharmacies. The purpose of this letter is to update you on the current position.
(i) Increased access from Palliative Care Community pharmacies
The HSCB established an out-of-hours on-call rota from the extended network of palliative care community pharmacies to allow urgent prescriptions to be dispensed up to 10pm Monday – Sunday.
After review, the HSCB has decided that the need for the on call arrangement has reduced to a level whereby the service can be stood down. The service will cease on Sunday 5th July 2020.
Factors contributing to this decision include:
The number of COVID 19 cases reported across NI continues to decline
96% of Nursing Homes (currently open and registered with RQIA) now stock an Urgent Pandemic Pack of medicines for the treatment of patients with clinically urgent (COVID and NON-COVID) conditions
The network of palliative care pharmacies has been extended providing additional access in some areas outside of normal pharmacy opening hours
(ii) Supply of urgent palliative care medicines from HSC Trust pharmacies
Between the hours of 10pm and 8am Trust on-call pharmacy services were available to supply urgent palliative care medicines as needed. For the reasons outlined above this service has also been stood down.
Whilst the service is being stood down at this time, it is recognised that the service may need to be reinstated again at some time in the future should we be faced with a second surge of COVID 19.
Actions for OOH medical centres and COVID centres
Please bring this to the attention of all relevant staff
Please ensure that you have robust processes in place to cover the prescribing, collection and delivery of urgent medicines to patients and the secure transfer of prescriptions to pharmacies
Assistant Director of Integrated Care
Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management