A worker in protective clothing cleans the floor of the pharmacy attached to the Warmdene doctor's Surgery at County Oak Medical Centre in Brighton, southern England on February 10, 2020, after it closed following reports a member of staff was infected with Covid-19. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) today called upon the government to provide “additional funding and resourcing” to support pharmacists battling COVID-19.

The demand is part of the “six essentials” the society has listed for the NHS and the government to act on “to ensure pharmacists can keep themselves safe, cope with demand and provide the best possible patient care.”

RPS said an NHS-funded delivery service is essential to cater to those unable to collect their medicines, particularly as the country toughens its approach in the fight against the virus.

Various trade bodies including the PSNC, National Pharmacy Association and National Association of Primary Care have been raising the demand of urgent funding support for pharmacies.

RPS has also demanded a change in law to minimise potential medicine shortages, by allowing community pharmacists “to use their professional judgement to help manage the supply of medicines without the bureaucracy that currently exists.”

The society said it will back pharmacists when they have to choose people over rules in the prevailing situation.

“There will be circumstances in the coming weeks where you’ll need to do things differently and prioritise putting people first and professional ethics over legislation, regulation and processes,” the RPS said in a communication.

“We can’t guarantee that questions won’t be asked about “why” you made particular decisions, however you can be reassured that we as an organisation will be supportive of using your professional judgement to help people.”

Other demands include adequate supplies of quality personal protection equipment and prioritised testing for pharmacy teams; inclusion of pharmacy in NHS guidance and protocols for frontline primary care staff for better communication; temporary registration of pharmacy professionals; and sticking to 28-day supply and electronic repeat dispensing for suitable patients.

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