(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge)

Following the prime minister Boris Johnson’s recent announcement about ramping down the Covid-related restrictions in the country, the Company Chemists’ Association has called for a clear guidance for patients and staff in healthcare settings including pharmacies.

On Monday (February 21), Johnson announced in parliament that the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive Covid test in England would end on Thursday (February 24).

“From this Thursday… we will end the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test,” he told MPs.

Raising concerns over the announcement, the CCA said: “Whilst we recognise many people will welcome this latest relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, the government must now urgently publish guidance on testing and self-isolation for staff in healthcare settings and specifically community pharmacies.

“This will allow pharmacies sufficient time to implement any changes. Pharmacies, like any other healthcare environment, are regularly visited by clinically vulnerable individuals and we want to do our utmost to protect them.”

The association also sought clarity over how the changes would affect the Infection Prevention and Control guidance, “specifically around the use face coverings in healthcare settings for both the public and healthcare workers.”

Zero-tolerance to abuse

Highlighting recent incidents of abusive behavior faced by pharmacists and other staff in pharmacies, the CCA urged the government to set out a zero-tolerance approach to any abuse.

Short supply of lateral flow tests in pharmacies over Christmas pushed pharmacy staff to bear the brunt from frustrated customers.

The CCA stated: “We also need urgent guidance to allow pharmacies to facilitate a smooth withdrawal of lateral flow tests for the non-clinically vulnerable members of the public, ensuring that everybody who wants to can buy a test from 1 April.”

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