• Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

More than a thousand pharmacy workers have responded to a survey conducted for ITV News.

The findings highlight a sector that feels "abandoned on the front line".

These professionals have told us of exhaustion, under-funding, lack of protective equipment and abuse.

Some pharmacists spoke to us with their heads in their hands out of frustration and fatigue.

As GP's surgeries and clinics have closed - pharmacies have become the NHS front line that is still open to the public.

We've heard from pharmacists suffering physical and verbal assault. Spitting, criminal damage and racism. These survey findings are a desperate cry for help.

Many pharmacists have witnessed abuse or aggression in the past month.

The new survey, conducted with Pharmacists' Defence Association shows:

  • 89% of pharmacy workers witnessed abuse or aggression in the past month

  • 38% say wait times are the biggest cause

  • 33%)say stock shortages sparked abuse.

  • Phone calls to pharmacies are up 200%

  • Home deliveries increased 300%

One pharmacists, Graham Phillips, told us "we are now the front line of the NHS and we have been abandoned by the NHS on the front line...no money, no protection, no care, nothing."

The Department of Health told us abuse of staff is unacceptable.

And that services they need to deliver have been reduced - while funding advanced and protective equipment delivered to 11,500 pharmacies in England - as they fight this pandemic.

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