The Pharmacy network in Northern Ireland is currently working under extreme pressure, providing support for patient and the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We understand that these are incredibly stressful and trying times for all pharmacy staff and other healthcare professionals. As such we recognise that during this time pharmacies may need to vary their hours of opening or close for periods during the working day to ensure that prescriptions are dispensed safely and that all staff can take necessary breaks. Should a community Pharmacy decide that it needs to close for a period of time, the Responsible Pharmacist should ensure that the appropriate protocols are followed and that where necessary the Health and Social Care board is appropriately informed. They should ensure that appropriate information is displayed to patients and the public. As a minimum this information should include the expected duration of the closure and the nearest alternative pharmacy. Pharmacies should keep up to date with the latest information regarding opening times from the Department of Health and the Health and Social Care Board. (www.hscboard.hscni.net/)
We have also heard several reports that pharmacy staff are receiving abuse, particularly verbal abuse, from a small minority of the public, who they have been trying to help. Abuse of pharmacy staff is never acceptable and will never be condoned. As key healthcare staff, pharmacist and their staff are entitled to be treated with the same respect as any other key workers and especially at this challenging time, we condemn all and any forms of abuse of pharmacy staff”