Responding to a new report from the Academy of Medical Sciences, which warns that the UK must prepare now for a potential new wave of coronavirus infections this winter, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Sandra Gidley said:
“This new report underlines why pharmacy must be at the heart of preparations for a potential second wave of COVID-19.
“If the Government is to achieve its ambition for the ‘biggest flu vaccine programme in history’, it must involve pharmacy across Great Britain in delivering it. Pharmacies can also support the rollout of antibody testing to establish what proportion of the population has been infected with the virus.
“Decisions are urgently needed on how we continue supporting shielded patients in the event of a second wave, such as through a medicines delivery service, which is due to end this month.
“Preparations must also consider how patients with COVID-19 are referred between care settings, how procedures might need to change so pharmacists can keep looking after patients safely, and how this will be funded.
“Whether it’s flu vaccinations, dealing with local lockdowns or planning for a potential second wave, the sooner we get decisions from government and the NHS, the more time pharmacy teams and the health service will have to prepare.
“For all this to be provided safely, health and care staff in all care settings must have plentiful supplies of PPE and rapid access to testing.
“We also agree with the report’s recommendation that health and care staff will need continued support for their own health and wellbeing. If the enormous mental and physical strain of the past few months is repeated ahead of this winter, the health service will be on its knees.”
Read more about the new report from the Academy of Medical Sciences.