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COVID -19 Contingency Planning

  • Wales
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

The global situation with COVID-19 is changing on a daily basis and currently the UK is seeing an increase in the number of cases. To reduce the spread of COVID–19, precautionary measures are being taken and reinforced across the UK to prevent the spread of the infection.

Pharmacy teams are encouraged to keep up-to-date with the latest advice and guidance see Numark’s COVID-19 hub page

Community Pharmacies should be reviewing their business continuity plans (sample and ensuring that any contingency plans are robust and in place.

Some points to consider whilst reviewing your business continuity plans.

Point to consider

Proposed Action



Is the nominated Business Continuity Lead stated on the business continuity plan still the appropriate person?

If not, this should updated immediately and arrangements made for the lead to update the business continuity plan


Has the Business Continuity Lead reviewed the business continuity plan to ensure relevance to the COVID-19 Outbreak

Lead to review plan and discuss with appropriate senior management/ directors/ owners


All senior management team must keep up-to-date with latest advice and guidance which is changing on a daily basis.

How will this information be accessed and communicated between the team?


How will information be communicated to staff members/branches and also how will staff members/branches communicate with head offices/senior management etc

Confirm the communication chain and channels to be used. All staff members to be made aware of the channels to be used.


Staff members should have details of their local health protection teams who should be contacted if a COVID-19 case has presented at the pharmacy

Contact numbers for local health protection teams to be made available for all staff members/branches


How will information be communicated locally with other health professionals eg GP practices, local Substance Misuse Clinic etc. Contingency plans need to be put in place with the health professionals to ensure continuity of supply and ensure patient safety

Confirm with communication channels with other local health professionals. Consult with other local services of any contingency plans that need to be put into place.


Business Contingency Plan should already have a grading of priority for the services (essential, advanced and enhanced) offered by branch/branches. This should be reviewed to ensure it is still appropriate

Lead to review services priority grading and document when and how services will be restricted/stopped. The lead should document the triggers for this action and how continued supply of the essential services are to be managed at a local level. 


Face to face meetings or non-essential travel should be restricted.

Video conferencing options to be explored. Any non-essential travel especially on public transport should be postponed.



All areas of branch/ branches should be decluttered, a robust cleaning procedure should be followed and an isolation area should be prepared

Ensure appropriate equipment and cleaning material is available for all staff members/branches. Isolation area prepared and procedure for dealing with potentially affected person is understood by all members of staff


Ensure all staff and (where appropriate) patients have access to soap, wipes, hand towels, hand sanitiser, clinical waste bags, PPE etc

Obtain supplies of materials and ensure that PPE supplies have been received


Members of staff must maintain personal infection control measures (regular handwashing, using alcohol gel, use of tissues etc)

Ensure information on handwashing, use of tissues etc is communicated to staff members/branches. Managers within branches to ensure procedures are followed


Areas/equipment that are used by patients and staff can potentially transmit the virus.

Ensure areas/equipment that are used by patients are cleaned on a regular basis, eg counter, door handles, pens, card machines etc


Consider signing prescriptions on behalf of patients and using card/mobile payments instead of cash.




Ensure situations where staff members will be preparing medication for patients outside of an outer container (eg MDS trays, oral liquid medication etc) additional hygiene measures are implemented

Managers within branches to ensure procedures are followed



Normal HR procedures may need to be adjusted during this period eg sickness reporting procedure, lone working policy, SSP pay etc.

Discussion between senior management and HR advisors to be completed. Any outcomes/changes to be communicated to staff


Branch closures – eg to deep clean or due to staff absence. 

Lead to consider what options are available if staff members are unable to attend. Also procedure for notifying area teams/ health board, patients, local substance misuse clinics, local healthcare professionals.



Delivery drivers will visit some of the most vulnerable patients. They must also ensure that they follow personal infection control measures. 

Ensure drivers have the appropriate infection control materials eg gloves, wipes, hand sanitiser etc. They should also report any concerns to the manager


A short term measure to reduce risk of exposure may be to consider an alternative to signing for deliveries.



Where deliveries may need to be made to patients who are self- isolating or have confirmed COVID-19, a procedure of leaving the medication in an appropriate (safe) place should be implemented.

A safe place should be confirmed with the patient (via telephone) before attempting delivery. Driver may be asked to telephone patient once delivery to safe place has been completed and the driver is a safe distance away so that the patient can collect the delivery.


Business Continuity Lead should consider alternative methods of delivery or the contingency for the driver not being to attend work

Deliveries should be prioritised to ensure that those that require them the most are able to continue to receive the service.


Are other drivers/staff members able to support the delivery service.