Four community pharmacy representative organisations have issued a joint statement on Easter opening hours in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The statement comes after the four organisations were informed that NHS England and NHS Improvement may shortly announce that community pharmacies must open for at least some time on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday.
The four bodies are as follows:
- The Association of Independent Multiples.
- The National Pharmacy Association.
- The Company Chemists Association.
- Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.
The joint statement from the four organisations reads as follows:
“We understand that NHS England and NHS Improvement are preparing to direct community pharmacies to treat the forthcoming Easter weekend ‘like any normal weekend’ and to open for at least some time on Good Friday and bank holiday Monday. We expect NHSE&I to soon announce that the Secretary of State will use new powers granted to him last Friday under the National Health Service (Amendments Relating to the Provision of Primary Care Services During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020. These regulations enable the NHS, with the agreement of Matt Hancock, to change the core hours of pharmacies in specified areas to include Good Friday and bank holidays.
“Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, pharmacy teams have been working tirelessly to ensure the public can get the medicines and healthcare support that they desperately need. Despite immense pressure, community pharmacies have remained open to serve the public, keeping them well and away from hospital. We know that this Easter, as they do every year, several thousand pharmacies in England are already planning to open and provide care for their local communities.
“We hope that any directive of the sector is based upon the clear evidence of a need for additional pharmacy care over and above that already planned. We are still awaiting the full details of the specific locations and hours that pharmacies will be expected to open across the Easter Weekend, and as we wait for clarity we will be supporting our members to ensure that they can provide pharmaceutical care wherever they can”.