The PSNC (Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee) says it is constantly monitoring the medicines supply situation amid reports of disruption caused by shortages of HGV drivers, impact of Covid-19 and shortage of fuel across the UK.
The pharmacy negotiator, however, noted “there currently appears to be no issue with supply of medicines into the country.“
“We have not been seeing some of the early medicines supply warning signals at a national level – such as a rising number of concession prices.”
Meanwhile, PSNC stated that feedback from contractors suggest a mixed picture across the country, as some pharmacies reported missing deliveries due to fuel issue over the weekend.
It said the logistics delays have not affected patients’ access to medicines, but have impacted pharmacy contractors, adding stress, workload and making patient interactions difficult.
PSNC added that fuel shortage will also increase the time and effort for contractors to run their businesses.
The negotiator is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and everyone across the supply chain to keep a tab on the situation.
PSNC director legal, Gordon Hockey, acknowledged the pharmacies’ effort to ensure patients’ access to medicines and said: “We have had reassurance today that the government will consider whether further steps are necessary to support the medicines supply chain if needed,”
Hockey also urged contractors to use PSNC shortages form to report any medicine supply issue so that it could look to the government to ensure medicines supply and healthcare services.
Commenting on the situation, RPS president Claire Anderson said: “Patient care is the top priority for pharmacists and their teams. Pharmacies are still getting deliveries of medicines and people should order and collect their prescription in the normal way. As usual, pharmacists are working with patients to ensure they get the medicines they need.
“We’re not aware that the problems with fuel supplies are stopping patients getting their medicines. If you have any concerns then please speak to your local pharmacist and their team who will be able to help and reassure you.”
Meanwhile, the British Medical Association stated on Monday (September 27) that healthcare workers must be given priority access to fuel so they can get to work and attend patients.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “Emergency and essential workers rely on fuel both to travel to work and for their work itself – whether this is to get to hospitals, practices and other healthcare settings, or for ambulances to reach people in urgent need of care and GPs to visit very ill patients at home.
“Everyone will have their own reasons for needing to fill up, but as pumps run dry there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs, and provide vital services and care to people who urgently need it.
“While the Government has said it is putting plans in place to alleviate the shortage of HGV drivers to transport fuel, the results of this won’t be immediate. Healthcare and essential workers must therefore be given priority access to fuel so they can continue their crucial work and guarantee care to patients.”
It is estimated that 50 to 90 per cent of petrol stations in the UK are without fuel.