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COVID-19: A Message From Your Local Pharmacies

31/03/2020

Like all parts of the NHS, community pharmacies are facing huge challenges as a result of COVID-19. The situation is unprecedented, and throughout the pandemic it will be critical that pharmacy teams are able to continue their important work getting the nation’s medicines to them. Community pharmacies across the Humber region are no exception and are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone’s medicines and healthcare needs will be met over the coming days and weeks.

Pharmacy teams are a critical part of the NHS and in the past weeks they have seen demand for Over- The-Counter (OTC) medicines, other products, advice and reassurance soar. They are under intense pressure at the moment, working on the front line of the health service often without any protection for their own health.

Due to the increasing pressures on them, many pharmacies are having to take steps to cope and to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Our ask is that the public respect these decisions, and recognise pharmacy teams as the NHS heroes that they are.

Many pharmacies are struggling to manage staff shortages (for instance where people are self-isolating) and remaining staff are working long hours to meet demand. As the pressure continues to increase, pharmacies have to take action to ensure that they can continue to supply the medicines and products that people need, including:

  • Operating on a closed-door basis at some points during the day. This allows pharmacy teams to dispense medicines safely and to meet unprecedented demand for prescription medicines.
  • Restricting the supply of some products including paracetamol, hand sanitisers and formula milk. NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked pharmacies to do this to ensure that everyone can have supplies.
  • Asking customers and patients to keep 2m (6 feet) away from other people when inside the pharmacy.

To help pharmacies to cope under the increasing pressure, Humber Local Pharmaceutical Committee is asking patients and members of the public to:

  • Avoid pharmacies 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, however mild, please stay at home and ask someone else to go to the pharmacy for you.
  • Be patient: All pharmacies are under immense pressure and working around the clock to ensure that you get what you need.
  • Respect pharmacy staff: they are providing NHS services and deserve the same respect as any other frontline NHS worker.
  • Order medicines and purchase products as normal: there is no need to stockpile. There are enough medicines for everyone, so long as everyone only orders the prescriptions and buys the medicines they really need. We are all in this together and we need to remember that stockpiling causes problems for more vulnerable people in our communities.

Chair of the local LPC Paul Robinson said:

“Community pharmacy teams are a really important part of the NHS, and like all other NHS workers they are under immense pressure at the moment. We are today asking patients and members of the public to take some very simple steps to help protect these teams so that pharmacies can continue to carry out their critical roles and ensure that everyone continues to get the medicines, help and support they need, when they need it.”

Contact

Humber Local Pharmaceutical Committee represents community pharmacy contractors in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. For further information on this press release please contact humber.lpc@nhs.net

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