Covid 19 and Extended Care (ENT) Service

Please note we have received the following communication from NHS England.  The advice is very timely and we would like ALL PHARMACISTS AND THEIR TEAMS TO READ THIS ITEM…. this is because even if you do not offer the extended care service you may get questions and queries from the public and may also want to refer patients to a pharmacy which does offer ENT – please note if you are referring a patient for this service they are asked to telephone the ENT pharmacy first for assessment before they attend.

Dear colleagues

The emerging situation with COVID-19 is clearly putting a great strain on all parts of the healthcare system, and we are acutely aware that community pharmacy is becoming the first point of contact for many patients with concerns and queries.  With regards to the Extended Care Service in particular, NHSE&I does not currently want to suspend the service as there are other elements to the service that are not related to Upper Respiratory Tract Infections. However, we cannot put the pharmacy workforce at unnecessary risk and therefore are advising the following at present;

  • Patients with URTI symptoms must not attend the pharmacy in person, and are advised to call NHS111 or NHS111 online
  • If following a consultation with NHS111 the patient is advised to go to a community pharmacy, we are requesting that patients phone the pharmacy first before attending. This is the same for patients who have contacted their GP practice and have been referred/care navigated.
  • Comms messages are going out to practices later today to remind them not to refer/care navigate patients with URTI symptoms to pharmacy
  • Pharmacists are given professional discretion as to whether patients referred need to be seen face to face, or can be triaged over the phone
  • If a contractor that has signed up to the service wishes to temporarily suspend providing this service, please contact Andrew Pickard prior to doing so such that other pharmacies and GP practices can be notified appropriately.

The situation is rapidly changing, so if the decision to fully suspend the service is taken, you will be notified immediately. If you have any queries regarding this message, please contact me via email –



Andrew Pickard

Pharmacy Advisor

NHS England and NHS Improvement – Midlands Region (Staffordshire and Shropshire)


w: and

Anglesey House, Wheelhouse Road, Rugeley, Staffordshire, WS15 1UZ