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Covid-19: pharmacies ‘on the brink of collapse’ warns PSNC chief

By Isabel Shaw

16 Mar 2020

The massive strain coronavirus has placed on community pharmacy will result in many having to close for good, according to PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (16 March), Dukes praised the sector’s response to the crisis but warned that many pharmacists would be unable to sustain their business without ‘urgent investment now’.

In a statement released by the PSNC alongside Dukes’s radio appearance, he said: ‘The sector’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been impressive, but many community pharmacies were on their knees financially before this outbreak and are now teetering on the brink of collapse. 

‘I am genuinely concerned that we will see Covid-19-related pharmacy closures and those businesses will not have the funds to open again: thus reducing the network of pharmacies on the high street just at the time when they are needed most. 

‘Community pharmacies are on the front line and are experiencing notable increases in the number of walk-ins and phone calls, numerous enquiries for delivery services, substantial price rises for common medicines, and increasing levels of staff sickness.

‘The sector needs urgent investment now just to keep the doors open and ensure that the vital services of dispensing and guidance/reassurance to patients and the treatment of minor ailments continues.’

You can listen to Dukes talking about the plight of community pharmacy in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic from around 1hr 38mins here.

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