As the pressures increase to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, RPS Scotland has said that Scottish pharmacists are reporting an increase in abusive and aggressive behaviour. The backbone of medicines supply in the NHS across Scotland, the community network is critically important in dispensing prescriptions and providing advice on medicines.
Protecting this resource in local communities is always important but is now critical to deal with the current public health emergency.
Commenting on the pressures facing pharmacists, Chair of RPS Scotland, Jonathan Burton, who is a pharmacist in Stirling, said:
“I have been shocked to hear of pharmacy teams being verbally abused. I have also heard of fights starting outside pharmacy premises. This is totally unacceptable behaviour.
“Community pharmacists and their teams are doing everything they possibly can to help in very difficult circumstances. They are under significant pressure and they need the help of the public so they can continue to provide vital healthcare support. I ask that anyone who needs to visit a pharmacy remains patient and is respectful to all pharmacy staff.”
In response to the reports of aggression towards pharmacy staff, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has taken its concerns to the police authorities to help make sure that all pharmacy teams across the NHS are kept safe and protected against any forms of aggressive, violent and abusive behaviour.
RPS Scotland recognises that these are unprecedented times which call for new ways of working. They ask that everyone who needs to visit a pharmacy respect the staff who are working hard to support every patient with their medication needs.