COVID-19 Q&A: for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians

We have compiled answers to the questions we are being asked in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Categorised by theme, use the links below to navigate to the relevant section. 

Last reviewed 2 November 2020.

Revalidation and renewal 

Pharmacy operations   

Key worker ID  

Supply of tests for COVID-19 from pharmacies (opens on a separate tab)

Revalidation and renewal

How many revalidation entries do I need to submit? 

Pharmacy professionals who have a registration renewal deadline between 1 May and 30 November 2021 will only need to submit a reflective account when they renew their registration.

You may find the myGPhC system will not let you submit your reflective account until you make a declaration about a peer discussion. You do not need to submit a peer discussion, so please tick 'yes' on the declaration to over-ride this.

Our current intention would be that we will resume revalidation requirements in full after 30 November 2021, but we will keep this under review and provide an update beforehand.

What standards do I need to reflect on?

Pharmacy professionals are still expected to reflect on one or more of the following three standards when completing their reflective account:

  • standard 3 - pharmacy professionals must communicate effectively
  • standard 6 - pharmacy professionals must behave professionally
  • standard 9 - pharmacy professionals must demonstrate leadership

We would encourage pharmacy professionals to reflect on their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic when completing their reflective account, although this is not essential.

What should I do if I cannot submit the entries that are required?  

If you do not feel you are able to submit the reduced submission of one reflective account by your revalidation submission deadline, you will need to complete an exceptional circumstances request on your myGPhC account. 

We will only consider exceptional circumstances if you can provide evidence to show you have not been able to practise between 10 – 12 months of your registration year.

We will not usually consider exceptional circumstances where your reason is due to the demands on your practice due to the pandemic. 

Am I still required to renew my registration, and do I need to still pay the full registration fee?

You will need to make the required declarations and pay the fee to renew your registration. Your renewal is due two months before your registration expiry date. 
If you have a direct debit set up, please refer to your renewal notice for the date by which you need to make your fitness to practise declarations by.       

Pharmacy operations

What personal protective equipment (PPE) should my team and I be wearing when providing pharmacy services?

Information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for pharmacy teams in England, Scotland and Wales can be found on the Public Health England website which provides guidance on COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC).

NHS England provides further information on infection control under the primary care sections of the website and in the community pharmacy standard operating procedure.

Health Protection Scotland provides further resources for Scotland to support the Public Health England infection prevention and control advice.

Public Health Wales also provides further resources for Wales.

Should pharmacy professionals and pharmacy team members be asked to work alone when the pharmacy is open during the pandemic?

Our standards for registered pharmacies include that pharmacy owners should make sure there are enough staff, suitably qualified and skilled, for the safe and effective provision of the pharmacy services provided.

Asking any member of the pharmacy team to work alone increases potential risks to their safety, as well as the safety of patients and the public.    

What should I do if I have concerns about an unplanned temporary closure of a community pharmacy?

The responsible pharmacist, superintendent pharmacist or pharmacy owner has to notify the relevant NHS organisation if a pharmacy has to close unexpectedly during its contracted opening hours. The NHS organisation would be:

  • NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) regional teams in England
  • The local NHS Board community pharmacy team in Scotland
  • The Local Health Board community pharmacy team and NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership in Wales

There may be particular arrangements in place for pharmacy closures during the COVID-19 pandemic; the relevant NHSE&I regional team in England, the local NHS Board Community Pharmacy Team in Scotland and Community Pharmacy Wales should be able to advise you on any arrangements in place.

Any concerns about temporary pharmacy closures (for whatever reason) should be reported to the relevant NHS organisation who will look into this as appropriate. We do not have a direct role in relation to temporary pharmacy closures. Our focus in regulating pharmacies is on patient safety and whether a pharmacy is operating safely and effectively. Where a pharmacy has to temporarily close, we would expect the pharmacy to make sure that they have made arrangements so that patients can get the medicines they need.

Key worker ID

How can I and other members of my pharmacy team demonstrate that we are key NHS workers when travelling to and from work?

You and your colleagues can download this letter, co-signed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), which you can show to law enforcement teams to confirm that you are an NHS key worker and need to travel between your home and place of work.