Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement in the House of Commons, September 22, 2020. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has renewed his pledge to support community pharmacies, praising the sector for doing “an absolutely outstanding job” on the frontline of the country’s healthcare system.

He made the statement during the Prime Minister’s Questions on Tuesday (Sept 23) in response to a question from Gareth Johnson, the Conservative MP for Dartford, who called community pharmacists “the gems of our high street.”

Gareth Johnson asked if the PM would “consider extending the ability of local pharmacies and chemists to administer health treatments so that these gems on our high street can ease the pressure on our health system.”

Prime Minister Johnson replied: “My honourable friend is completely right that pharmacies and chemists are in the frontline of our healthcare and do an absolutely outstanding job in testing people for all kinds of things, Covid among them.

“We will certainly support them in any way that we can.”

The Prime Minister also announced a raft of new measures to tackle a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday.

Unprecedented demand on pharmacists: RPS

Meanwhile, responding to the PM’s announcement, Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said that rising numbers of coronavirus cases had put “unprecedented demand” on pharmacists and that it was important that “pharmacists and their teams are properly risk assessed so those at high risk of Covid-19 transmission can be protected within the workplace”.

“We’ve been calling for action on this on behalf of our members throughout the crisis and we expect all employers to undertake appropriate risk assessments for pharmacy staff across primary and secondary care. Lessons must be learnt from the first phase of the pandemic.

“Pharmacy teams must also be protected with adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), quick access to testing and other safety measures, as well as support for their own mental health and wellbeing in dealing with this difficult period.”

The RPS has also asked pharmacists to ensure that they sign up to the government’s PPE Portal.

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