(Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images).

Nearly all pharmacists were unable to maintain social distancing at work and one in three couldn’t get continuous supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a latest study showed.

According to a new snapshot survey of pharmacists by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), 94 per cent of respondents said they were unable to maintain two metre social distancing from other staff in their workplace as pharmacies, and their dispensaries in particular, are often small and simply don’t allow for social distancing.

Another 40 per cent of respondents said they were unable to maintain social distancing from patients.

In addition to the practical difficulties they face, 34 per cent of respondents noted they were unable to source continuous supplies of PPE to protect themselves from potential infection by the public or colleagues at work.

RPS President Sandra Gidley said: “It’s clear the vast majority of frontline pharmacy teams are unable to maintain safe social distancing either from staff or patients. They must have access to PPE to protect themselves, their patients and their families.

“We strongly recommend that everyone working in a pharmacy who is unable to maintain 2m social distance from either patients or other staff members should wear a fluid resistant surgical mask.

“We are still hearing too many examples where pharmacy teams are finding it difficult to source the PPE they need to keep them safe in line with our recommendations. There should be no compromise on safety for pharmacy teams and PPE supplies to pharmacy need to reflect this.

“It is essential the Government steps up and provides sufficient PPE to enable pharmacists to face the realities of working in a pharmacy during the pandemic.”

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