Health & NHS
Pharmacy Collect to end on March 31, Government confirms
Community pharmacies in England will no longer be commissioned by the Government to provide free lateral flow tests to the public after March 31, it has been confirmed.
Following the announcement earlier this week that the Government plans to end free mass testing for coronavirus from April 1, the PSNC said earlier today that the Pharmacy Collect service will end from that date.
The negotiator says it is working with the UK Health Security Agency and NHS England & Improvement “on a smooth transition to the end of the service”.
It said that while many contractors have seen “an unsurprising increase in requests for test kits” in the days since the announcement, the UKHSA still has “good stock levels”.
“Ahead of the end of free universal testing in England, it may be necessary for UKHSA to cap the number of tests distributed each day to manage demand,” said the PSNC, adding that further details on final payments for the service will be circulated to contractors once they have been finalised.
The Government has said it is working with pharmacies and other companies to help build up a private market for lateral flow tests. Boots has launched a product currently priced at £5.99 per individual test, with this to come down to £2.50 a test from early March.
Meanwhile, the pandemic delivery service is winding down from today, with no new NHS Test and Trace IDs being issued to patients.
Contractors can still make deliveries to eligible patients who already have an ID until March 5, and must submit their final pay claims no later than April 5.