Date of prep: December 2020
Prescribing information and
adverse events reporting
For healthcare professionals only
Before the pandemic, our pharmacy was already two members of staff short.
One team member has been on long term sick and another recently left for another job. We also have one person self-isolating because they have symptoms. Another team member helps us out but usually ends up doing three days a week. This person has now said that she doesn’t want to do any hours during this time.
Our pharmacy is extremely busy normally. It’s a very fast-paced and stressful environment. We never have ‘quiet times’ and often have to cover other branches who are consistently short-staffed.
We’ve already taken on more work because of the way our local GP surgeries have changed the way they work. It would have been great if they had discussed this with us first.
The changes that we have had to cope with are as follows:
We are already up to capacity so can’t take on any more deliveries yet we are getting people demanding, not asking, for us to deliver their medicines.
Understandably valid in some cases but we just don’t have the resources at the moment. However, people are being abusive about this even when we are doing our best to make alternative suggestions. The government needs to make it clear that people are still allowed to go out to collect medication or they need to provide some help
Staying open and for longer hours and open seven days.
How are these hours going to be staffed?
We ourselves have children, partners who also work, older parents and relatives who will need our help. And how will Pharmacy companies be able to afford to pay the extra wages?
I know we don’t have spare people, even when we were in desperate need in normal circumstances
Impact of Doctors Surgeries and their COVID-19 protocols
The local Doctor Surgeries have stopped seeing patients face to face and then only emergencies we are being bombarded with concerned people.
They are coming for advice and with other health concerns unrelated to the virus. Things they would normally contact their GP about. We had a parent in who had a toddler with a fever who’d been refused at their surgery but were concerned about their child.
On top of this, we have people coming in demanding their normal medication ‘now’ because they have to go into ‘lockdown’ (actual words) or they don’t want to come out again because of the risks, etc.
Surgeries have not made contact with us to see how we could work together to lessen the impact for us both. They are making our situation worse by telling patients prescriptions will be ready straight away with no thought for our workload or staffing levels.
People are not listening to advice and equally, we are not being protected by those in government, they have not mentioned pharmacy enough.
We have already been supporting the NHS with the work we do day in day out – the more pressure GP’s are under the more work we are under, we have seen an increase in our work over the past year or so (not dispensing but supporting patients) people cannot get through to their surgeries so they come to us and we sort out a lot of their issues.
For me, this has highlighted how little the Government regards the importance of community pharmacy as part of the healthcare system. A lot of assumptions have been made about the current resources and capacity and I wonder if they are even aware of the challenges of community pharmacy before this situation.
And all this while I’m in remission from leukaemia.
Pharmacy in Practice is a UK pharmacy publication with its roots in Scotland.