The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for pharmacy teams to be given access to priority shopping hours during the coronavirus outbreak, alongside other NHS staff.

In a letter, written to the British Retail Consortium today (25 March), the RPS asked that pharmacy teams, like other NHS staff, are able to access priority opening hours in supermarkets dedicated to healthcare staff who have struggled to purchase food amid mass panic buying from the public.

UK supermarkets have opened up priority shopping slots for the help the elderly and NHS workers buy essential supplies and groceries during the coronavirus pandemic.

The RPS expressed concern that many pharmacy staff are not able to access the dedicated time slots, as many pharmacy staff do not have NHS ID badges, which are being used by some supermarkets to grant entry.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society President, Sandra Gidley, asked that supermarkets accept other forms of identification from their employer or work setting, including this letter -- which is to be stamped by the member of staff’s employer.

She wrote: ‘Pharmacy teams are an essential part of the NHS working on the frontline supporting patients and the public right across the country.

‘As you will be aware pharmacy teams are working hard on the frontline to support the public during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you for supporting our profession in coping with the additional demands from Covid-19’.

Meanwhile, pharmacies in England are now able to close their doors to the public for up to 2.5 hours per working day including lunch, amid high workload caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.