Pharmacists will be expected to prioritise patients who are at a higher risk of COVID-19

Consumer

NHS England guidance has stated that pharmacists will be expected to prioritise patients who are at a higher risk of the Coronavirus, under the new optimisation service and structured medication reviews, which will come into effect at the beginning of this forthcoming October.

In addition, the guidance notes that PCNs should be mindful of the needs of individuals at particular risk of Coronavirus, including black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups, including by considering how to rationalise complex prescribing regimens to enhance their protection.

“Pharmacists will be expected to prioritise patients who are at a higher risk of COVID-19.“

The guideline notes that people on ten or more prescriptions, patients in nursing homes, as well as those taking drugs generally associated with prescription errors, should be included in the individuals to be given an SMR.

President of the Primary Care Pharmacy Association (PCPA), Graham Stretch, stated: “It is helpful for us all to be reminded that as part of risk assessment, we should consider a patient’s ethnicity and if necessary, increase their priority for a structured medication review if they are at greater risk of more severe COVID-19 infection. It is important that this change in guidance is highlighted so that we are all aware we need to prioritise these patients. But we need to do it in a way that doesn’t put patients at risk, we might not necessarily be able to bring them in to the surgery. Most PCNs are trying very hard to recruit and retain pharmacists."

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