Pharmacy owners’ ongoing responsibilities for COVID-19 safety measures after 19 July

From 19 July 2021, measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and wearing face masks in certain settings, will no longer be mandatory in England. Instead the Government in England has set out an expectation and recommendation that people should wear face coverings in crowded areas, as the number of cases is high and rising. 

NHS England and Improvement has also confirmed that guidelines from Public Health England on infection prevention control remain in place and so staff, patients and visitors will be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules and wear face coverings in all healthcare settings, including pharmacies.

The governments in Scotland and Wales have stated that face masks and other measures will continue to be a requirement in certain settings such as in health and social care.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is reminding pharmacy owners to carefully consider the relevant guidance from governments, health and safety requirements and the GPhC’s standards for registered pharmacies [PDF 985 KB], to help them ensure they continue to provide COVID-safe environments as the pandemic continues. 

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is also asking the public to continue to follow COVID-19 safety measures that remain in place in pharmacies to protect themselves, their communities and pharmacy staff.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said:

“Pharmacies are healthcare settings where pharmacy teams are providing face-to-face care, often to people who are clinically vulnerable. 

“One of the key principles of our standards for registered pharmacies is that the environment and condition of the premises from which pharmacy services are provided, and any associated premises, safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of patients and the public. 

“We would ask pharmacy owners to carefully consider how best they can continue to meet the standards and their ongoing health and safety obligations in order to protect patients and the public and staff, once some COVID-19 safety measures are no longer a legal requirement.

“We would also ask all members of the public to be respectful of pharmacy teams and other people visiting the pharmacy, by continuing to comply with any measures that pharmacies keep in place relating to social distancing, wearing of face coverings or other arrangements designed in the interests of patient and staff safety.”