Pharmacies across County Durham are being given the option to reduce opening hours to cope with increasing pressures from COVID-19
PHARMACIES are being given the flexibility to reduce their opening hours each day to maintain patient safety and staff wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The temporary arrangements, in line with government Covid-19 guidance, will see some community pharmacies across County Durham close for periods throughout the day to allow surges in demand for services to be managed safely.
Kate Huddart, senior pharmaceutical advisor, for NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Pharmacies all across the UK are currently seeing unprecedented demand for services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Giving pharmacists the opportunity to temporarily reduce their opening hours will not only assist the increasing demand to be managed safely, but will also enable vital work for vulnerable patients to be prioritised alongside allowing staff to clean pharmacy premises, re-stock supplies, have a break and catch up on paperwork.”
To check the opening times of your local pharmacy visit www.nhs.uk, click on “services near you” and select “pharmacy.”
Notices advising of change of opening hours will also be displayed within individual pharmacies.
To help pharmacies to cope under the increasing pressure, County Durham and Darlington Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) is asking patients and members of the public to:
•Avoid pharmacies if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19: If you have a dry, persistent cough, fever or shortness of breath, please avoid entering your local pharmacies as you would any other healthcare setting.
•Be patient: All pharmacies are under immense pressure and working around the clock to ensure that you get what you need.
•Order medicines as normal: There is no need to stockpile medicines. Ordering extra prescriptions and buying more over the counter medicines than you need will contribute to disruption to the medicines supply chain, which is otherwise robust.
Chief officer of County Durham and Darlington Local Pharmaceutical Committee Greg Burke added: “Community pharmacy teams are a really important part of the NHS, and like all other NHS workers they are under immense pressure at the moment.
“We are asking patients and members of the public to take some very simple steps to help protect these teams so that pharmacies can continue to carry out their critical roles and ensure that everyone continues to get the medicines, help and support they need, when they need it.”