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Community pharmacy may have to share workload as NHS emergency service – 999 – has faced the busiest ever month in October with staff attending to a record 1,012,143 calls, data released today (November 11) has revealed.

Of the total, 82,000 were life threatening call-outs, an increase from 61,561 in October 2019.

Besides, major A&Es treated over 1.4 million people during October and the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme delivered more than 7.5 million jabs, including more than 5.9 million top-up jabs.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said the latest data show that “pressure on the health service remains incredibly high,” therefore, people with minor illness should “contact their local pharmacists.”

He encouraged people to come forward to take Covid and flu jabs.

Currently, 6,961 patients are admitted with Covid and all hospitals in England have now treated more than 450,000 patients with the virus.

Patients on the waiting list are now prioritised depending on their need, Powis said.

In September-end, average waiting period reduced to less than 12 weeks for elective care, compared to 19.6 weeks in July last year.

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