People who use pharmacies in parts of Pendle have suffered shortages or delays in buying prescription medicines such as insulin, councillors have been told.
In the Barnoldswick area, a number of pharmacies have been impacted and some councillors hope a new regional NHS organisation might look into the problems.
However, pharmacies in the neighbouring town of Nelson are facing shortages with other medicines. A pharmacists in Nelson Pharmacy told Pharmacy Business that he was struggling to meet local demand for children’s paracetamol due to ongoing shortages.
Pendle Council’s West Craven Area Committee heard about the issues at its latest local meeting, held in Earby.
An agenda for the committee stated: “Pharmacy provision in West Craven. It is reported that there is an acute problem with people being unable to get prescriptions filled, with Whitworth chemists suffering a breakdown in service. Previously, Well chemists has suffered similar problems.”
Speaking at the meeting, Lib-Dem Coun David Whipp said: “It’s quite an appalling situation where people are queuing 30 minutes to get a prescription filled but when they get to the counter they are told it’s not ready. They have to go home and come back at 5pm. It’s an ongoing problem.
“It includes insulin, which is critical for people with diabetes. I know several people who have failed to get insulin, It’s a very serious problem.”
He added: “I think the committee should contact the local integrated care service. I think they are responsible for primary care which includes pharmacies. We need to find out what’s happening and improve things in future. ”
In government changes to the NHS last year, the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) system was ended.
Previously, local doctors, dentists, community nurses and other primary care providers such as pharmacies and opticians worked together in planning services and also buying specialist care – known as commissioning – from large NHS hospitals or ambulance services, if needed for patients.
But the CCG system was was replaced last year by new regional integrated care boards or ICBs. The change was designed to bring traditional NHS health care services and social care services run by councils closer together.
As a result, Lancashire is now overseen by the new NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB).
In addition to contacting the new integrated care board , Pendle councillors on the West Craven committee may ask for a detailed council report on pharmacy issues for their next meeting.
Well and Whitworth pharmacies have been contacted for comment.
A spokesperson for Lancashire & South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, which organises healthcare services in the region, said: “We have had no reports about stock levels in Pendle being any different to anywhere else in the region but some temporary shortages in stocks of medications at pharmacies are not uncommon.
“When things are nationally unavailable, the NHS may issue serious shortage protocols (SSPs) which allows community pharmacies to supply an alternative product on the prescription – however nothing is in place currently around insulin products.
“Patients who find their regular pharmacy is out of stock can try other pharmacies because they may use a different wholesaler and have stocks available. It is advisable to phone ahead to check there is stock available before visiting a pharmacy.
However, a pharmacy in the neighbouring town of Nelson is facing shortages of other medicines. A pharmacist in Nelson Pharmacy told Pharmacy Business that he was struggling to meet local demand for children’s paracetamol due to the ongoing shortages.
“We are okay with insulin at the moment but we are facing a lot of difficulties sourcing other medicines including paracetamol for children. Lot of patients are coming in but we have had delivery delays for a while now.”