Pharmacies & Covid : The Reality

We have today published a joint report with Healthwatch Medway detailing feedback from 101 pharmacies across Kent and Medway. The report details what it has been like during COVID-19 and what lessons have been learnt.
pharmacies and covid the reality

The report presents some clear themes including:

  • 72% of community pharmacies don’t feel that systems have been improved in preparation for a second wave.
  • 92% didn’t receive the information, support and equipment they needed to respond to the first wave of the pandemic.
  • 95% of community pharmacies said that their staffing levels had been affected in the first wave, the majority reporting that the impact had been significant.
  • 73% of community pharmacies report that morale is low and what staff need most right now is recognition from fellow NHS professionals, and for the public to be made more aware of the work they do.
  • 78% of community pharmacies reported that communication and working with GP surgeries had been difficult and slow.
We spoke to 101 pharmacies and we heard some really stark stories about the challenges pharmacists have been dealing with during the first wave of Coronavirus. We’ve also heard from the public about the issues they faced trying to get their prescriptions. As we move into a second lockdown we need to ensure that the same mistakes are not made again.
— Robbie Goatham, Healthwatch Kent Manager
It’s been important to give our community pharmacies a platform to voice their opinions on the effect of COVID and we hope that we can raise awareness of how community pharmacies have supported and can continue to support public during through this difficult time. We look forward to continuing the great work locally with the wider NHS system to build on these recommendations
— Shilpa Shah, CEO of the Local Pharmaceutical Committee

Here are just a few of the comments we heard:

“A large issue that was faced by community pharmacy included GP's closing their doors completely… leaving pharmacy staff to deal with patients with symptoms face to face.”

“No support for PPE, we couldn’t obtain it. Staff were forced to work in conditions that were potentially dangerous.”

“There was a significant increase in abuse to pharmacy staff during the pandemic mainly over having to wait for a prescription or around medication supply issues, when the staff were working hard to cope with the increased demands.”

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Read the full report below

Pharmacies & Covid : the reality

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