Be patient in pharmacies, says RPS President

Pharmacies have put patients first throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, offering the public rapid access to essential medicines, expert care and life-saving vaccinations during a national crisis.

Pharmacy teams are working extraordinarily hard, saving many millions of GP appointments and hospital walk-ins every day, helping to protect the NHS as well as the communities they serve.

Commenting on the pressures on pharmacy during the pandemic, RPS President Professor Claire Anderson said: "The incredibly high demand on pharmacies means that people may have to wait longer than normal to be seen, so we’re calling on the public to be patient when visiting their pharmacy. These are exceptional times, which means that we all need to be patient when accessing health services.

“Demand means it may also take longer to process prescriptions, so with the Christmas break coming up, don’t leave ordering of repeat medications to the last minute. Get your order in promptly and be ready for longer waits when picking up your medicines.

“You should wear a mask in a pharmacy at all times to protect yourself, others and the pharmacy team from infections – we need to keep pharmacies open. If you’re asked to maintain social distancing, in a pharmacy, please do your very best to do so.

“Pharmacies are a trusted and valued part of every community and are there to help patients and the public. But they are under huge pressure. Our recent survey showed nine out of ten (89%) respondents were at high risk of burnout, because of high levels of workplace stress. Shockingly, 57% of respondents reported being frequently unable to take a rest break or were not offered a break at all.

“The ramping up of the COVID-19 booster campaign has added to the workload and many pharmacy teams are at breaking point. Pharmacists and their teams are helping everyone as fast as they can, and the public can help them by remaining polite and patient when visiting their pharmacy.”

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