August 2023 – Important updates

  • Triage and Prescribing of COVID treatments will change on 21st August 2023.
  • Local Care Direct is commissioned to offer a community triage and prescribing service for high-risk adult patients in South Yorkshire
  • Patients aged over 16 under adult services will contact their GP practice in-hours, or else NHS111 out of hours, to request a referral to the community triage and prescribing service. The contacted service (GP or 111) should refer the patient.
  • Eligible patients who are unsuitable for oral treatment will be referred to their local Acute Trust by Local Care Direct.
  • A record of clinical intervention will be sent to the patient’s registered GP once the triage and treatment process has been completed.
  • Patients 16 or under with a paediatrician (including under 18’s still under paediatric care) will be treated by Sheffield Children’s Hospital via their paediatric specialist. They should not be referred to LCD but asked to contact their peadiatrician.

The role of GP practices in new local pathways

Eligible patients who contact your surgery with a positive Covid test result should be referred to Local Care Direct for triage and treatment by emailing containing:

  • Name
  • DOB
  • NHS number
  • Address
  • Tel number (best contact)
  • When the patient tested positive
  • Symptoms

COVID treatments are currently classed as RED traffic light status – specialist use only in SY. GP practices should not prescribe COVID treatment to patients.

Oral COVID antivirals are now available through community pharmacy. At present seventeen community pharmacies across SY are to be commissioned to retain and provide oral COVID medication, and a list is available here on the ICB website under “Covid medicines supply service”. 

Children and Young Adults

As oral COVID medications aren’t licensed for under 18s, treatment should be initiated by secondary care. For patients aged under 18 still under paediatric care, the patient/carer should contact their paediatric specialist for onward referral to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. All other patients (including those aged 16 and 17 without a paediatric specialist) should be referred to Local Care Direct by their GP practice or NHS 111.

Access to lateral flow tests

Eligible patients will continue to have free access to lateral flow tests via GOV.UK or 119. They can also now use tests purchased from a pharmacy or shop. They will not be able to report the result of privately-bought tests but this will not affect access to an assessment for treatment.

From 1 October 2023, the way patients access tests may change. Patients will be able to check for more information closer to the time.

Further information

The national webpages at will be kept up-to-date with new information. ICBs may also be making information available for patients on their own websites.

For more detailed information about eligibility, please refer to the NICE MTA.

An e-learning module on community-based COVID treatments is available on This will provide an education and training resource to support safe and effective prescribing decisions.