A plea from community pharmacists

A plea from community pharmacists

November 10, 2020

There has been a surge in demand for pharmacies across the country in the last week for prescriptions, over the counter products, advice and reassurance.

Like so many other frontline health services this is putting pressure on pharmacy teams – who themselves are suffering from fatigue and staff shortages.

We are all in this together and we need to ensure that everyone, but particularly the more vulnerable people in our communities, can still get access to the medicines and healthcare they need.

What you can do to help relieve the pressure

To make sure that pharmacies can continue to supply the medicines, products and healthcare that people need here are some things that pharmacies across Sussex and Surrey are asking people to do:

  • Don’t stockpile – order medicines and purchase products as normal (usually about seven days before you run out). There are enough medicines for everyone, so long as everyone only orders the prescriptions and buys the medicines they really need
  • Avoid pharmacies if you have symptoms of Covid-19 – 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
  • Help save pharmacy deliveries for priority patients – everyone is encouraged, in the first instance, to ask a friend, family member, carer or a volunteer (for example, one of the NHS Volunteer Responders) to collect your medicines for you. If none of these are available, and you have been told you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should contact your pharmacy to inform them if you need your medicines delivered. They will arrange this free of charge. The NHS Find a Pharmacy Service lists all pharmacies nearby.
  • Be patient – all pharmacies are under immense pressure and working around the clock to ensure you get what you need
  • Respect pharmacy staff – please remember pharmacy staff are here to help, not deal with aggressive and violent behaviour

If you need medical assistance

  • For any serious condition or a life threatening emergency other than suspected Coronavirus dial 999 immediately, or go to your nearest A&E department
  • For any minor condition that is not suspected Coronavirus and is not an emergency, call 111, visit 111.nhs.uk, or go to see your local pharmacy. Pharmacists are healthcare experts who can give qualified clinical advice. Go to the NHS UK website to search for a pharmacy near you and to check opening hours
  • If you suspect that you, or someone in your household has Coronavirus and needs medical attention, follow current NHS guidlelines:
    • Do not go to pharmacy or hospital
    • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (high temperature or new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service

More information

  • Community pharmacies are the most accessible healthcare providers – they offer healthcare advice and NHS services on the high street, on a walk-in-basis
  • During an average week across all pharmacies in England, over 600,000 consultations are carried out to respond to patients’ symptoms*
  • Pharmacies are also very busy offering flu vaccinations and ensuring that they keep staff and visitors safe during the pandemic
  • With the commencement of the second national lockdown in early November 2020, the pandemic delivery service was restarted across England on 5th November 2020 and it will run until 3rd December 202)
  • Contact lpc@communitypharmacyss.co.uk

* but pharmacies are struggling to sustain this level of support given the financial and workload challenges they face and dwhich have been exacerbated by the pandemic

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