New community pharmacy care home service launched


A community pharmacy out-of-hours palliative care service has also been introduced in Northern Ireland, which will provide greater access for COVID centres and out-of-hours medical services to palliative medicines.


The service has bee designed to give Care Homes an additional level of community pharmacy support offering pharmaceutical advice.


In a letter to all community pharmacy contractors in Northern Ireland the Assistant Director of Integrated Care Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management Joe Brogan said the following:


“Many community pharmacies are currently contracted with HSCB to provide the “Advice to Nursing Home and Residential Homes” service to individual Care Homes. In many situations the pharmacy contracted to provide this service is also the pharmacy that dispenses medicines for the patients in that Care Home, so the Home will already have an established working arrangement with the pharmacy.


“Pharmacies are being asked to consider agreeing on a mechanism to provide additional pharmaceutical support to those Care Homes they are currently aligned with. This agreed additional support could include:


  • Providing additional pharmaceutical advice where necessary, possibly during the out-of-hours period when the pharmacy is closed.
  • Dispensing an urgent prescription during the out-of-hours period.
  • Sign-posting and referring staff to other health care providers as necessary.


“It is recognised that the same model of additional support will not be applicable in all pharmacies. Any arrangement, for example, availability and means of contact, would be agreed between the pharmacy and the Care Home directly.


“The service will run until the end of June in the first instance. The need for the service will be reviewed on a monthly basis.


“This service is an interim measure to provide further support to nursing homes at this time; work will continue to scope a revised Community Pharmacy Nursing Home Service in order to address medicines management issues in care homes.”


“Pharmacies may claim £500 per Care Home they are contracted to provide service to, for the initial surge of the pandemic; up to a maximum of claim £2,500 per pharmacy.


“Please note that Drug Tariff fees payable for dispensing urgent prescriptions have been revised:


  • Fees for urgent prescriptions before 11pm – £30
  • Fees for urgent prescriptions after 11pm – £50


“Pharmacists are asked to contact appropriate Home(s) and agree on the process for the provision of additional pharmaceutical support. We request that you complete the enclosed form indicating the Homes you have made an agreement with to provide additional pharmaceutical. Please return this form to HSCB by Friday 12th.


“The next working day the pharmacist should provide details of any calls from homes during the out-of-hours period via the usual sit rep process. This will enable any issues with regard to particular care homes to be flagged and dealt with as soon as possible.”


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