There has been a huge surge in demand for pharmacies across the country in the last couple of weeks for prescriptions, over the counter products, advice and reassurance. In addition, as they’ve seen in other areas of society some people are stockpiling medicines and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like so many other front line services this is putting pressure on pharmacy teams – who themselves are suffering from staff shortages. Pharmacies are working in partnership with GPS, local districts and boroughs and through the Community Helpline using local volunteers and British Red Cross to ensure that everyone but particularly the more vulnerable people in our communities can still get access to the medicines they need.
To make sure that pharmacies can continue to supply the medicines and products that people need pharmacies are asking residents to:
- Routine prescriptions – if the need is not urgent residents are asked not to come in for routine prescriptions during bank holidays.
- Not stockpile – order medicines and purchase products as normal. There are enough medicines for everyone, so long as everyone only orders the prescriptions and buys the medicines they really need.
Those advised by the NHS to stay at home, but need to collect prescription medicines, to do the following:
- In the first instance, vulnerable patients are asked to have their medicines collected by a family member, friend or neighbour.
- If no-one is able to help collect prescriptions, vulnerable patients can ring the Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008 with details of the date when current medicine is due to run out and address of their local pharmacy.
- Avoid pharmacies if you have symptoms – please can we ask you that if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19: If you have a dry, persistent cough, fever or shortness of breath, please don’t go to your local pharmacy.
- Be patient – all pharmacies are under immense pressure and working around the clock to ensure that you get what you need.
- Respect pharmacy staff – we are all in this together and everyone is doing the best they can under unprecedented circumstances.