Press release 19 March 2020
NHS Lanarkshire is appealing for the public’s help to reduce the pressure on GP practices and community pharmacies by not requesting repeat prescriptions before they are due.
Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic GP practices and community pharmacies are experiencing a significant increase in demand for their services. This has included patients requesting repeat prescriptions before they are due, ordering items ‘just in case’ and seeking general information.
George Lindsay, Chief Pharmacist Primary Care said: “We understand patients are worried that they may not be able to pick up their prescription if they are self-isolating. However, there are alternative methods of collection and delivery of prescriptions, which include asking your friends and family to help out.
“Requesting repeat prescriptions before they are due is an unnecessary added pressure on practice staff and pharmacies, and it is having an adverse effect on the reliability of the service. Many pharmacies are experiencing extreme demand with patients queuing in the pharmacies and outside and this presents a further infection risk for everyone. Pharmacists are having to close their doors to manage these risks which is completely unprecedented, but an entirely necessary health and safety response. We’ve had cases of older people waiting outside pharmacies in long queues and there is no need for this if normal prescription ordering patterns can be restored.
“Together we must all only use services for their core purpose and when they are genuinely required. That will allow us to return to a more normal demand and provide services in a far better way for everyone.
“To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 GP practices and pharmacies are also implementing social distancing measures. We are appealing to the public for their patience and understanding during this time and to adhere to the measures put in place.”
Farhan Khan, Pharmacist from Deans Pharmacy, Wishaw, adds: “Our teams are working flat out to cope with demand. We have reduced staff numbers due to people having to self-isolate. There is no shortage of medicines and no need for patients to order prescriptions early or stockpile medication.
“We will get your prescriptions ready, it might just take a little longer than usual. We will prioritise urgent prescriptions and those for the most vulnerable patients. We will work with patients to ensure those self-isolating are able to get their medication too. We are at the front line and will remain here throughout the pandemic to ensure patients are cared for properly.”
Patients who are self-isolating should NOT visit their GP practice or community pharmacy.
All patients should consider the latest Scottish Government advice, including staying at home if they have symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19 or they live with someone that has symptoms.
For the latest health advice, see NHS inform’s coronavirus page. A free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.