As the UK responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacies in County Durham are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone’s medicines and healthcare needs are met over the coming days and weeks.
Pharmacy teams are a critical part of the NHS and in the past weeks they have seen demand for Over- The-Counter (OTC) medicines, other products, advice and reassurance soar.
Pharmacy teams are under intense pressure at the moment, working on the front line of the health service, often without any protection for their own health.
To help pharmacies cope under increasing pressure, we are asking patients and members of the public to:
- Avoid pharmacies if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you have a dry, persistent cough, fever or shortness of breath, please avoid entering your local pharmacies as you would any other healthcare setting
- Be patient: All pharmacies are under immense pressure and working around the clock to ensure that you get what you need
- Order medicines as normal: There is no need to stockpile medicines. Ordering extra prescriptions and buying more over the counter medicines than you need will contribute to disruption to the medicines supply chain, which is otherwise robust.
Pharmacies will remain open wherever possible, but you may see that some are now having to reduce the hours during which they can admit members of the public. This is to ensure that pharmacy teams can carry out tasks such as preparing medicines and restocking shelves so that these vital services can continue safely.
Most pharmacies can be contacted by phone and email, and many have their own websites and social media channels – please use these methods to contact your pharmacies if you are displaying the symptoms of COVID-19.
Chief Officer for the Durham CCGs and Co-Chair of the Urgent Emergency Care (UEC) Network Dr Stewart Findlay, said: “Community pharmacy teams are a really important part of the NHS, and like all other NHS workers, they are under immense pressure at the moment.
“We are asking patients and members of the public to take some very simple steps to help protect these teams so that pharmacies can continue to carry out their critical roles and ensure that everyone continues to get the medicines, help and support they need, when they need it.”