Community access to COVID-19 treatment from 1 April 2024 

The pathway for community access to COVID-19 treatment is changing from 1 April 2024. Eligible patients reporting a positive test should be advised to call 111 urgently for an assessment for COVID-19 treatments.

Hertfordshire and West Essex (HWE) Integrated Care Board (ICB) has commissioned Hertfordshire Urgent Care (HUC) to clinically assess patients who contact them with a positive COVID test with the highest risk of an adverse COVID-19 outcome. Following assessment of the patient including for eligibility in line with national recommendations, if appropriate and clinically suitable a COVID-19 oral antiviral may be prescribed. HUC will issue an eFP10 and advise the patient or patient’s representative to contact the community pharmacy to arrange supply.

Oral antivirals for treating COVID-19, Paxlovid® (nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir) and Lagevrio® (Molnupiravir), are available to order by community pharmacies. from Alliance Healthcare. This stock is being provided free of charge for NHS prescriptions by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The Drug Tariff reflects a nominal reimbursement fee and dispensed prescriptions will generate a single activity fee. This supports the transition of community-based COVID-19 treatments into routine care pathways, enabling community pharmacies to supply against a prescription, as for any other medicine prescribed on a FP10.

As these are two new medications you will be dispensing, HWE ICB has developed a supportive presentation which may help you and your pharmacy team to become familiar with these and have the necessary knowledge to dispense safely and be able to counsel the patient.

HUC is giving advice to patients that a representative should collect the medicines rather than the patient themselves and there is no expectation on your pharmacy to deliver the medicines to the patient’s home unless this is already part of your service offering.

Next steps:

  1. Please let your teams know that you may start receiving prescriptions from HUC from 1 April 2024. In preparation for this date, please consider how you will order this stock as a prescription should be dispensed on the same day as prescribed due to the nature of the condition.
  2. Please refer to the HWE ICB presentation to help support staff dispense safely and counsel patient or patient representative.
  3. Should a situation arise where you are presented with a FP10 for Paxlovid® (nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir) which you are unable to fulfil, please support the patient with identifying a neighbouring pharmacy which does hold stock, so that treatment can be accessed as soon as possible.

CPH has requested that HUC contact details for prescription queries should be provided to all community pharmacies and that a training event should be considered and offered to support community pharmacists.

For any queries, please contact