Coronavirus: Pharmacies facing pressure as the demand for drugs drastically rises

A pharmacist in Kent has told ITV News Meridian that his pharmacy is "at breaking point" because of unprecedented demand during the coronavirus crisis.

Across the South pharmacists are facing high levels of abuse as they cope with Covid-19.

Many say that their staff teams are depleted because of people being ill or having to self-isolate because of family members.

Amid the growing pressure, pharmacy chain Lloyds says it needs to recruit an extra 1500 workers over the next few days.

  • Watch the full report by Sarah Saunders:

Interviewees: Doc Atherton, Pharmacy Manager & Mitesh Patel, Pharmacist & Deborah Crockford, Local Pharmaceutical Committee

The body representing pharmacists is calling on customers to only order the drugs and medicines that they need.

Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA),which represents independent community pharmacy professionals, said providers were doing everything possible to maintain the supply of medicines.

Mr Lyonette said: "In most cases, pharmacies are currently able to meet need in a timely fashion, even if that means limiting the quantity of certain medicines sold to each customer."

"There is no overall shortage of prescription medicines, but the current exceptionally high demand means that it may take longer than you are used to for pharmacy staff to process prescriptions."

Credit: ITV News Meridian

The chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council said that pharmacy professionals were working under "significant pressure" during the coronavirus crisis.

Duncan Rudkin said there had been increasing numbers of reports that staff had been experiencing "abuse, disorder and even violence" from members of the public.

Pharmacy is a key part of the national response and its workforce are entitled to be treated with the same respect as other key healthcare professionals. This is an especially challenging time for the pharmacy profession and we condemn any abuse."

Duncan Rudkin, General Pharmaceutical Council