Advice posted in the window of a pharmacy with information on how best to keep healthy and safe

Greater Manchester community pharmacies that have endured ‘abusive’ patients and are ‘close to breaking point’ will stay open during the coronavirus pandemic – but they need help.

Many teams are facing mounting pressures on their workforce, with staff with symptoms having to self-isolate or shield themselves from risk.

They are also having to deal with a significantly increased volume of patient queries, requests for non-urgent medicines as well as support for advice.

Retired pharmacists and others who are qualified are volunteering to help out to work around the clock to offer their services.

But unfortunately in the case of Manor Pharmacy, patients have often gone a step too far when visiting their branches across the city-region.

Pharmacy staff Muhammed Patel and Dionne Taylor said: “We have unfortunately endured some abusive patients who have deeply upset the pharmacy team.

“Like you, our teams are seriously concerned about the pandemic and the impact on them, their family and are working under extremely challenging and difficult circumstances, please respect them.

“We have had some kind patients bring in chocolates and coffee to keep us going, however. A small ‘thank you’ and appreciation makes all the difference as we are working hard to support the NHS and the local community.”

Now the Greater Manchester local pharmaceutical committee, which represents community pharmacies in the region, has asked residents to heed the following advice to ensure that pharmacies can continue their important work.

  • If you have COVID 19 symptoms i.e. a fever or new, continuous cough, follow the government guidance and stay at home. If you’re isolating, ask a friend, relative or neighbour to collect your medicines. If you need advice phone the pharmacy or visit NHS111.
  • Do not order repeat prescriptions early or stockpile. The medicine supply chain is robust, and supplies will be consistent if everyone only orders what they need. Give your pharmacy team an extra few days to prepare your regular medicines.
  • Follow the social distancing guidelines of staying two-metres apart.  To protect you, other patients and the staff most pharmacies will not allow any waiting, so you may be asked to call back later.

Aneet Kapoor, chair of the committee, said that work was being done to match up pharmacy students from Manchester University who are prepared to help out in community pharmacies most in need of help..

He added: “Community pharmacy is under extreme pressure at the moment and we are working hard to put measures in place to support pharmacies where we can.

“We are providing 2m high, impactful banners for pharmacies to display warning people with symptoms of coronavirus not to enter pharmacies.

“We continue to liaise with the Greater Manchester and national pharmacy organisations and NHS to ensure there is additional support for community pharmacy at this difficult time.” (By Naill Griffiths, Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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