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COVID-19: Testing expanded for pharmacy teams in England

Pharmacy staff can get tested by driving to one of the DH’s regional drive-through testing sites
Pharmacy staff can get tested by driving to one of the DH’s regional drive-through testing sites

Community pharmacy professionals in England who are self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19 can now get swab tested thanks to increased testing capacity, the DH has said.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has expanded access to testing to more frontline workers, as well as symptomatic members of their family or household, it announced last week (April 17).

The polymerase chain reaction swab tests, which are used to determine if an individual has the virus, will allow key workers to return to their jobs “as soon as possible” if they test negative, the DH said.

Pharmacy teams in Wales have been included in the Welsh testing programme since March 18, and the list of eligible workers was expanded last week (April 18) to include non-NHS critical workers.

How to access the tests

Community pharmacy team members who think they are eligible for the test should speak to their employer, who will receive information on how to book an appointment on their behalf, the DH said.

Information was shared with pharmacy contractors last week (April 18), detailing how their staff can access the testing, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

The PSNC added that a Care Quality Commission online portal “will be used to allow health and care staff, including community pharmacy staff, to book a test at one of the national test centres”.

The DH said that a new website will “in time” allow “eligible individuals to book a test directly”.

Where to get tested

Pharmacy staff can currently get tested at an NHS hospital or by driving to one of the DH’s drive-through regional testing sites.

The DH is also developing mobile testing units, which will be able to “travel to offer tests where they are needed”, and a home test kit to help people with symptoms test themselves and their family in their own home.

“Stop talking” prioritisation

In response to a question from C+D at a press briefing last week (April 16), Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at Public Health England, said “we should stop talking about [who to] prioritise” as “we’re a point now where we have capacity to test”.

“How can you decide whether a tube driver is more important than a care worker or a community pharmacist?” he asked.

“My task [is] to make available the testing capacity that the country needs to respond to COVID-19. That includes providing testing for all key workers so that they can get back to work if they test negative and that absolutely includes pharmacists,” Professor Newton added.

Lloyds: 2,500 staff self-isolating

When the new UK-wide COVID-19 testing programme was announced at the end of last month, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) received confirmation that pharmacy teams in England would be given access to the antigen tests if they showed symptoms.

However, doctors and nurses working in intensive care units were initially being prioritised under the programme, along with their family members, the DH told C+D earlier this month (April 9). It added that the tests would be rolled out to all health, social care and other key workers as “capacity increases”.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast earlier this month, Toby Anderson, CEO of Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson UK, revealed that 2,500 company employees were self-isolating at home, and called for all healthcare workers to have access to COVID-19 tests to allow them to return to work.

Do you welcome the DH's decision?

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

What is the point? A test will merely say 'at this point in time you do not have the virus' (which if Angry Pharmacist is to be believed doesn't exist anyway - what's killing people then??) You could then catch it from the car in front leaving the car park, think you are OK and go on to infect loads of others. The unfortunate fact about this disease is that it isn't going away until the majority of the population have had it, same as any other. Remember the swine flu panic? That's still around, same way that Covid-19 will still be around for years and years, circling the world on those convenient viral vectors called aeroplanes which, lets face it have probably caused more deaths through disease spreading than any mosquito

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

I'm assuming you were an academic at some point in your career 'Lucky'.  As one professional to another I strongly suggest you use your academic skills and critically analyse what the media tells you instead of believing it as gospel. Is there any actual documented evidence that a virus actually exists? Nope. Just because the media says it's a virus it's true? Lol. The media never lie do they? 
What's killing people? It's funny how actual Doctors in America have likened peoples lungs that have died from 'Covid-19' to that of someone who is just plonked on top of Mount Everest without any breathing gear. These are the same Doctors who aren't being given any airtime by the mainstream media. 
I've heard theories it could be 5G and it would be foolish to dismiss any theory without researching it- and studies have been done which show electromagnetic radiation can have effects on the human body. (Try reading The Invisible Rainbow- A history of electricity and life by Arthur Firstenberg).

When people who speak out and are being censored it's time to stop for a second and think why a country in which freedom of speech is a core right, suddenly people are being silenced. 

Aaa I mentioned above I strongly suggest you watch these videos before they're taken down. Start with David Icke and prepare to be shocked.

And if you still don't believe me just watch the second link video below of an actual American Doctor who has spoken out:

I also posted another link a couple of days ago (see below) to a video by a Dr Andrew Kaufman who is an actual Medical Doctor in America who completely dismisses the notion of this fake virus. I suggest you watch it!


Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

David Icke thinks the queen is a reptile in a human suit. Nuff said. He also used to keep goal for Coventry City. Double nuff said. Now if you want to come up with a conspiracy theory where the virus was created by China, I'd be prepared to listen. Also, as a pharmacist, (not an effing tool thankyou very much,) I have no idea whether or not the tablets I'm dispensing are or contain what they say they are and neither do you so until you can come up with your own little analytical lab to test every tablet you dispense, I'm afraid you are every bit as much of a tool, in more ways than one.

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

I don't judge on his views of the queen, and what's him being an ex footballer got anything to do with it? I can critically analyse his sources for myself. If actual medical professionals and academics are saying there is no virus and I'm seeing actual facts to back it up then I will believe them all day long. Enjoy your 'self-isolation' and bending over to the government at will. I'm sorry but I will always stand up for freedom of speech and when people are being censored for no good reason then that is an infringement of basic human rights. Continue being the sheep you obviously are and people like me will continue fighting for you even though you're too brainwashed to realise it.


Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Hells bells, don't you get the concept of a joke?? Try being a little less angry. I'm not self isolating because I'm not afraid of the virus which although I have no scientific evidence for  I can believe in in exactly yhe same way you can believe that our royal family are currently swallowing rodents whole at Windsor (I'm no particular royalist by the way, but I think Icke is barking mad. Blue tracksuits???) Funny how there are people saying that freedom of speech is being abused in China to stop information about the virus being shared. I am open to all views, I am not a sheep but I believe that your particular view of this situation is utterly wrong.

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

I'm not angry at all Lucky. Sorry you got that impression, and I don't know where you got the notion I think the Queen and her family are 'swallowing rodents' but hey ho, you believe whatever little stories that keep you entertained. You believe what you like and I'll do the same. Don't come crying when your civil liberties are taken away and you're suddenly forced to innoculate yourself and your whole family with Bill Gates' little vaccine- or else. All the best with that. 

By the way David Icke predicted 9/11 would happen and also predicted what is happening in the world today 20 years ago. That gains some credibility in my eyes. 

Meera Sharma, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Great news, thank you!!

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

As a self-employed locum how can I arrange to be tested?

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Test for what? There is no virus. Wake up my friend.

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

How can you test for something that's never been isolated in the first place? Ermmm Koch Postulates anyone?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

It's great to be included at last. I do question the logic of asking someone with flu like symptoms if not worse having to drive 50 miles each way (my nearest testing station) to be tested, when it's evidently illegal for me to drive a mile to walk my dogs somewhere quiet when symptom free...

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

I sould imagine someone who actually has the disease would leave a nice fifty mile long viral plume behind them because a car isn't hermetically sealed and you definitely breathe in the air from the one in front. Have you ever followed a car where someone is vaping or enjoying some herbal recreation? The smell gets into your car pretty quickly and all that smell has come from someone elses lungs. This 2m distancing won't work either. Again. just look at someone smoking or vaping and see how long their breath stays static even when they've moved away. In the supermarket queue, each time you move forward that mystical 2m, you are walking into the person in front's lung contents.

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