The C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service or LFD Distribution Service is a new advanced service that is available to community pharmacies. The service enables NHSE&I to distribute COVID-19 Lateral flow test kits to pharmacies to allow asymptomatic people to identify positive cases within the community and to break the chain of transmission. All pharmacies are encouraged to sign up for it.
What Is The C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service?
The NHS C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service essentially improves public access to testing kits as they will be readily available at participating community pharmacies. This advanced service will work alongside existing NHS Test and Trace COVID-19 testing routes and as long as they meet the requirements, it is available to all pharmacies in England.
With up to a third of infected people not displaying any COVID symptoms, expanding asymptomatic testing is a sure way to help fight the pandemic. By using lateral flow devices (LFD), more people who are likely to spread the virus can be identified which will help minimise the risk of transmission.
The NHSBSA will provide a list of wholesalers that have signed up to provide the test kits for pharmacy contractors. There will also be no additional charge for ordering the test kits. As the Prime Minister stated during his address to the nation, people can request tests for regular use for other reasons.
And, everyone in England should have access to two free coronavirus tests per week which is why the C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service is regarded as a big step in the right direction.
Community Pharmacies will be paid a one-off set up fee of £250+VAT which covers the pharmacies costs for training their team, creating an SOP, and any storage costs for storing the kits and a fee of £1.50+Vat for every transaction. There is also an early bird sign up fee of £200 + VAT as long as the pharmacy signs up by 23.59 on Sunday 18th April.
The Role Of Pharmacies In The C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service
Community pharmacies are typically situated in high street locations, in neighbourhood centres, in supermarkets and in the heart of the most deprived communities. Many are open long hours which gives members of the public an opportunity to get their Lateral flow Device testing kits.
Comprehensive research from the NHS Test and Trace into routine mass testing revealed participants preferred having access to testing in the community. It showed that local communities trust their pharmacists far more than other new points of access and this information has helped the Government decision to commission a distribution service from community pharmacies.
Further information shows that 99% of the population – even those living in the most deprived areas – can get to a pharmacy within 20 minutes by car and 96% by walking or using public transport. Whilst the C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service is not compulsory, it can help tremendously if all community pharmacies choose to provide LFDs.
The service is part of the NHS Test and Trace public offering where people will self-administer the tests. The pharmacy team is therefore not involved in the generation of test results, supporting the reporting of results or the next steps for the person taking the test. If there are any questions about the tests the team can direct the person to phone 119
According to Alastair Buxton, PSNC Director of NHS Services: “Distributing test kits is a great way for the accessibility of community pharmacies and the relationships their teams have with the local community to be used to help the nation’s COVID-19 recovery effort, including supporting less well-served groups of the population.”
NHS Test And Trace Pharmacy Collect
Based on NHS Test and Trace public communications, the service will be referred to as Pharmacy Collect. As previously mentioned, it will allow asymptomatic people to collect LFD test kits from the community pharmacy free of charge.
This way they can do regular testing as part of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap. The most common circumstances for people conducting regular self-tests include the following:
- A child at school or in a bubble with other school children
- People working at a school or those who are in a bubble with school staff
- Anyone having to leave the house to go to work
- Their local council, GP or other healthcare professional advised them to get a test
People collecting test kits will be asked 3 questions by the pharmacy team member.
- Have you collected Lateral Flow Device tests before?
- Why do you need the tests? This is only in relation to the first person requesting the test)
- What is the age range of the person using the kit?
The answers to the second and third question will need to be recorded by the pharmacy and reported on a weekly basis using the NHSBSA MYS portal.
The pharmacy team will also need to share some key information with the person collecting, including the fact the instructions are in the box and that it’s important to report the result whatever it may be. They need to let them know that even if the test is negative, it does not mean or guarantee that the person doesn’t have Covid-19 and that government guidelines and restrictions must still be followed.
This is an important step towards protecting public health as helping to detect people with high levels of the Covid-19 virus helps identify individuals who are most likely to transmit the infection, including those people who are asymptomatic. As mentioned earlier, up to a third of people don’t show any symptoms and therefore broadening the use of these tests ensures that more people can be identified, and the chains of transmission broken.
“This new service is designed to be easy for contractors to implement and provide, with the day-to-day transactions being managed by the pharmacy’s counter team. PSNC and the Government hope that the majority of pharmacies in England will eventually sign up to provide the service, ensuring easy access to LFD test kits for the population” said Alastair Buxton.PSNC Director of NHS Services
When a pharmacy signs up for the service, they should order test kits from an approved wholesaler. As of 29th March, this includes Alliance Healthcare and Phoenix Healthcare Distribution (only for Rowlands Pharmacies).
Pharmacy Training And The C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service Early Bird Offer
Please note that there is an Early Bird fee for pharmacies signing up to the Advanced Service before 23:59 on the 18th April of £200+VAT.
VirtualOutcomes also has a course for the entire pharmacy team covering everything there is to know about the C19 Lateral Flow Device Distribution Service. There are already several practical online courses and if you do not have access to the courses via your LPC you can now join VirtualOutcomes for direct access for just £12+VAT per month per pharmacy.