Patients are being urged to use pharmacy services responsibly to help minimise unnecessary pressures on frontline staff.

In an open letter published by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and Company Chemists Association (CCA), pharmacy leaders asked the public to ‘act in the interests of the whole community’.

This will help pharmacies to maintain vital services while they deal with the influx of patients vising pharmacy during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The letter, which featured on ITV news last night (16 March), outlines how patients and customers can help lessen the burden on the NHS, by reducing the spread of the virus and helping to keep the supply of medicines flowing smoothly. 

The letter comes following a spike in common medicines shortages across the country, as many patients begin to panic buy. 

It asked patients to:

  • act responsibly by not entering a pharmacy if they have symptoms of infection, such as a cough or fever
  • have friends or family who are symptom-free collect essential medicines for them
  • only buy the medicines and supplies they need right now
  • follow any instructions from pharmacists and pharmacy teams
  • treat pharmacy teams in the way they would wish to be treated
  • keep up to date with the latest online advice from the NHS.

NPA chief executive Mark Lyonette said: ‘We are asking the public to help us to continue to do our vital work on the NHS frontline.

‘If we act together in our communities, we can all do our bit to limit the impact that this virus has on the nation’s health.’

Chief executive of the Company Chemists Association, Malcolm Harrison, added: ‘We understand that people want to feel prepared given the uncertainty that coronavirus is creating.

‘However, it’s important that everyone plays their part in reducing the spread of this virus and helping us to maintain the supply of medicines for all.’