PSNC Newsletter

Tuesday 23rd November 2021

COVID-19 LFD Distribution Service

This is a special edition of the PSNC newsletter focused on the COVID-19 lateral flow device (LFD) distribution service (Pharmacy Collect).

In this update: Supplying LFD test kits without a collect code; managing stock levels; evaluation of LFD tests; test kit recalls; share your top tips; FAQs.

Thank you

Firstly, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) – of which NHS Test and Trace is a part – has asked us to pass on their thanks to all of the community pharmacy contractors and their teams who have and still are taking part in the service. For the UKHSA, this service has been one of the most successful testing routes with over 159 million tests estimated to have been collected from pharmacies. The agency's research shows that pharmacies are the number one route for people to collect kits across most ages and ethnicities.

Supplying LFD test kits without a collect code

Pharmacy teams are reminded that although citizens should be encouraged to use a collect code to receive test kits, if they do not wish to register for a collect code, a supply can still be made as an anonymous collection.

To continue to support the fight against COVID-19, it is important that people who are unable to easily obtain a collect code or are unwilling to obtain one can still access test kits in this way.

The UKHSA introduced the collect code to improve the traceability of test kits as part of meeting a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) requirement for supply of test kits. Collect codes also enable a better understanding of test kit usage and result reporting.

How many LFD test kits do you have in stock?

Contractors may experience an increase in demand for test kits over the winter months. Contractors are encouraged to review stock levels and where there is space to store additional cartons of test kits within the pharmacy, consider placing additional orders to ensure their pharmacy teams can meet demand over the next couple of months. This is a busy period for pharmacy teams and wholesalers and both will be experiencing increased demand for medicines and other products too.

Contractors can order one carton of test kits each day (Monday to Saturday). If you experience any supply issues obtaining test kits, in the first instance please contact Alliance Healthcare customer service support: customerservice@alliance-healthcare.co.uk or call 0330 100 0448.

Should pharmacy teams wish to discuss this further with NHS Test and Trace or think they may struggle to maintain stock availability, please email pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk.

Evaluation of LFD tests

The UKHSA are carrying out ongoing evaluations of LFD test kits. This involves citizens taking a PCR test alongside one of their LFD tests and sending it to a laboratory for testing.

To ensure that the evaluation is representative of the population, the UKHSA need to complete this dual swabbing through the C-19 LFD distribution service. Therefore, the UKHSA will be sending some pharmacies cartons of 15 combined kits, which will contain a standard LFD pack along with one PCR test.

Read more about the evaluation process

Recalls on LFD test kits

As a further requirement to meet MHRA obligations, the UKHSA and NHS England and NHS Improvement are currently confirming the process that pharmacy teams will need to follow in the event of a recall on LFD test kits.

An updated service specification, detailing this process, will be released in due course and contractors will be informed of its release via our normal communication channels.

Share your top tips

The UKHSA is keen to hear from contractors or their teams about any top tips which could help other pharmacy colleagues to provide the service, or if they have any suggested improvements to the service and the service reporting that could be considered. Please email ideas or suggestions to pharmacy.collect.queries@dhsc.gov.uk.


Q. Why did the service change to require citizens to use a code?
Collect codes improve the data which NHS Test and Trace receives, allowing better management of the service and assisting the wider COVID response. The data obtained as part of the collect code process allows monitoring of usage of testing, better understanding of the disease picture, provides another opportunity to encourage citizens to register their results and improves the traceability of test packs. In addition, by obtaining data before citizens visit a pharmacy, it reduces the information that the pharmacy team would have needed to capture, improves data security and reduces the time a citizen is at the pharmacy.

Q. How does the Government use the data that they are given when people register for the code?
The data collected as a result of capturing the collect code, enables the UKHSA to better understand how tests are being used, which help informs policy and service design.

Q. Why does the email the customer receives contain a QR code?
A QR code was part of the original design for the service and whilst it is not being used by Pharmacy Collect, the functionality may be used in other services introduced in the future.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee

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