Pharmacy and the Olympics
Business as usual
Throughout the Games (9 July – 12 September 2012), there is likely to be an increased pressure on NHS services and community pharmacies across England and in particular in the London area.
NHS London 2012 Programme Management Office are working with Strategic Health Authorities across the country to consistently promote community pharmacy as the first port of call for minor health related problems and medicine queries.
Things for community pharmacy to consider:
• Will normal delivery routes be disrupted? Are your staff able to come in?
NHS London is discussing issues related to delivery of medicines with the major wholesalers and closer to the time it may be worth you talking to your regular wholesaler(s) to identify their delivery process during the games. More information about disruptions to routes can be found on the London 2012 website.
Transport for London (TfL) is working with a number of NHS suppliers including pharmacy to identify challenges to service delivery and ensure that they have sufficient information to enable planning. The first freight workshop took place on the 11 November. For more information visit the TfL website.
• Is your profile on NHS Choices up to date?
Patients from abroad and from other parts of the country will be signposted to NHS Choices for up to date information on service provision and advice. Your Primary Care Trust (PCT) will be able to help with getting “editing rights” if you don’t have these already.
• You may decide to remain open for longer hours if events are on in your area?
If you wish to remain open longer, liaise with, and inform, NHS commissioners (currently PCTs) and make sure your profile on NHS Choices contains the correct information.
• Kindly liaise with your NHS Pharmacy commissioner (currently PCTs) on games time planning and services to ensure your planning is aligned with wider NHS planning.
Image: London 2012
Looking after the athletes
Accredited members of the games family will be managed by the London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) medical with support from NHS hospitals for acute and emergency care that cannot be provided by LOCOG. Any other services provided by the NHS will be subject to business as usual policy and procedures.
The Pharmacy Clinical Services Group (PCSG) is one of the workstreams that comprise LOCOG Medical Services. The goal of the PCSG is to provide comprehensive pharmacy services for all who attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London in 2012, whether they come as a competing athlete, official, VIP, Olympic Family member, workforce volunteer or spectator. Pharmacy services will accommodate 26 Olympic sports with 10,500 athletes from 205 countries, competing in 34 venues, followed by 20 Paralympic sports with 4,200 athletes from 170 countries competing at 21 venues and an estimated 9.2 million spectators.
Pharmacy clinical services will be co-ordinated and served through pharmacies at three Polyclinics, based at the Olympic Villages at Stratford (Olympic Park) Weymouth (sailing events) and Eton Dorney (rowing events). The pharmacies will operate in a similar style to a hospital outpatient dispensary and will be the coordinating points of medicine supply for the athlete and spectator medical facilities at the stadiums and training venues. An Olympic Formulary will be used for prescribing and a medicines information service will be provided from the Stratford pharmacy. In addition to catering to the specialist medicine requirements of elite athletes, the pharmacy staff will provide information to athletes about drugs prohibited in sport within the guidelines of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The PCSG began its work in April 2009 and has focused on a number of key areas:
• Establishment of the polyclinic pharmacies
• Development of the Games Formulary
• Recruitment of expert pharmacist and pharmacy technician volunteers for the Games period
• Education and training programmes
In collaboration with CPPE, an e-learning package has been developed. This package is entitled The Use of Drugs in Sport: A Healthcare Professional’s Perspective and comprises three programmes:
1. Doping and anti-doping in sport
2. Medical services at international sporting events
3. Pharmacy services and support in sport and fitness
All GPhC registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can access this package from CPPE website.
Doctors registered for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
Pharmacists wishing to check a doctor’s registration status can search the GMC’s list of medical registered practitioners. Doctors from overseas, visiting the UK to provide medical services to athletes taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, will be able to temporarily register with the General Medical Council. Their form of registration will restrict them to prescribing and treating only their athletes and only for the duration of the relevant Games. The section “information for employers” on the list will show whether a doctor is registered for the duration of the relevant Games.
It is anticipated that all their prescriptions will be filled via the pharmacy arrangements at each Olympic village and unlikely that such prescriptions will be filled at any other pharmacy.
For advice on prescriptions written by EEA doctors see our Quick Reference Guide on EEA prescriptions.
Transport during the Games
Transport is a major issue and there will be a number of different factors impacting transport and access and egress at Games Time that will need to be considered when planning to ensure service delivery.
The Olympic and Paralympic Route Network (ORN) will be open during Games but Games lanes will be closed to all except OF and blue lights. There is a good indication that ORN roads will be free-flowing and traffic congestion would be on routes adjoining the ORN.
The Paralympic Route Network (PRN) is a reduced version of the ORN and it is expected there will be reduced impact in central London
Non-sporting events and celebrations may cause transport disruption with Central and East London being particularly busy.
NHS London is working with Transport for London, Cluster Primary Care, Pharmacy and Transport Leads to support planning to mitigate any potential transport disruption during the Games. They have recently issued PCT Clusters with a bespoke pharmacy toolkit which provides day-by-day analysis of transport issues. NHS London is working with TfL to discuss an escalation procedure as a contingency should traffic congestion be worse than expected
To support the process each cluster has a transport cluster lead
- Advice on dealing with EU prescriptions (RPS) »
- Advice on emergency supply (RPS) »
- Sports and medicines CPPE learning pack »
- NHS London Games Planning Pack »
- Self-Assurance checklist for Olympics and Paralympics »
- Guidance for community pharmacists »
- Contact your local or regional 2012 NHS leads
- British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers London 2012 statement »