The Pharmacy Collect service – which launched on March 29 – allows asymptomatic patients to collect COVID-19 lateral flow device testing kits free of charge from their local pharmacy.
Pharmacies that sign up to the service before the end of this Sunday, April 18 will receive a £200 “early sign-up fee” plus VAT, the NHS Test and Trace service specification states.
When asked by C+D how many pharmacies across England have so far signed up to the advanced service, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) said: “More details about the new service will be set out in due course.”
“We have been delighted at the level of interest and how fast the response has been from pharmacies to take part in Pharmacy Collect,” the spokesperson added.
Could Pharmacy Collect be “scaled back”?
The DH’s comments come in response to reports by the Guardian newspaper that some senior health officials have suggested “scaling back” the expansion of rapid COVID-19 testing, due to the growing number of false positives.
The DH told the Guardian that it had “no plans to halt the universal programme” and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) told C+D it has had no discussions with the government suggesting a change in policy.
“If members of the public ask questions about the accuracy of lateral flow device tests, pharmacy teams can advise them to phone 119 to seek further information,” PSNC added.
Read C+D’s explainer article on the new NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service.