To “act in the interests of the whole community”, patients should not visit a community pharmacy if they have symptoms of COVID-19, the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and National Pharmacy Association (NPA) advised in a joint open letter to patients yesterday (March 16).
The organisations highlighted that pharmacies are “working hard to provide their regular services” while meeting “significantly increased demand for advice on preventing coronavirus”.
The letter recommends that patients arrange for symptom-free friends or family to collect medicines for them if they have symptoms such as a cough or fever, and only buying the medication and other supplies they need to treat themselves and their family “right now”.
The letter also said patients should follow advice from pharmacists and pharmacy teams, treat them as they themselves would wish to be treated and keep up-to-date with the latest online advice from the NHS.
NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette said that pharmacies “provide important services and absorb pressure that would otherwise fall on other parts of the healthcare system”.
“We are asking the public to help us to continue to do our vital work on the NHS frontline,” he added.
CCA chief executive Malcolm Harrisson said it’s “important that everyone plays their part in reducing the spread of this virus and helping us to maintain the supply of medicines for all”.
AIMp: Emergency funding needed
The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) chief executive Leyla Hannbeck told C+D today (March 17) that in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, pharmacies need emergency funding to “deliver medicines to self-isolating patients” and meet the increase in demand.
Although it is “encouraging to see that work is being done to reduce the current bureaucratic burden and regulations...[the] cash-starved sector” is under an “immense amount of pressure” and more needs to be done, she added.
AIMp is asking the government to support the sector and “allow [it] to continue being on the front line”, Ms Hannbeck said.
She also asked that the public “be aware of the hard work community pharmacy teams are doing to deliver patient care during these difficult times”.