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More than 9 in 10 pharmacies now signed up to Pharmacy Collect service

Hancock: "Pharmacies make an invaluable contribution to our health service"

"Over nine in 10 pharmacies" are now distributing lateral flow device test kits across England as part of the Pharmacy Collect service, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.

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.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon (April 19), Mr Hancock said he was “delighted” that the Department of Health and Social Care (DH), in conjunction with NHS Test and Trace, has “now rolled out Pharmacy Collect to over nine in 10 pharmacies”.

C+D has asked for a specific number of pharmacies signed up to the service.

Informing the House of Commons on the government’s “new development in our testing system”, Mr Hancock said that “the universal testing offer, in which anyone can get tested up to twice a week, is now free and easily accessible to anyone who wants it” thanks to local pharmacies.

“Pharmacies make an invaluable contribution to our health service; they have gone above and beyond in response to COVID-19 to serve their communities. Now, they will play a key role in our rapid testing programme, which is a vital tool in reopening society in the months ahead,” Mr Hancock added in a statement.

“I have been delighted at the level of interest and how fast the response has been from pharmacies to take part," he said.

“This new service will make it even easier for people to access rapid testing twice a week. The testing only takes 30 minutes and will help people stop the spread of the virus – protecting families and communities and saving lives.”

Pharmacies that signed up to the service before April 18 were entitled to a £200 “early sign-up fee” plus VAT, on top of a one-off set-up fee of £250 to cover the costs of creating a new standard operating procedure, training staff and storing the test kits.

A service fee of £1.50 plus an allowance for VAT is paid per transaction.

Read C+D’s explainer article on the new NHS community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service.

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