Statement: Pharmacy closures during the Covid-19 pandemic

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said:

“Pharmacies and pharmacy professionals are working on the frontline, under significant pressure, to support the public and patients during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We recognise that some pharmacies may need to adjust their opening hours or close for periods during the day to ensure that prescriptions are dispensed safely and that all staff can take necessary breaks. If an NHS pharmacy decides that it needs to close for a period of time, they need to follow local NHS reporting and notification procedures and make clear to the public how long they’ll be closed for and where the nearest other pharmacy is. Pharmacies should keep up to date with local and national NHS announcements on opening hours.  

“We are also hearing increasing numbers of reports that pharmacy staff are experiencing abuse, disorder and even violence at the hands of some of the members of the public they are trying to help.  Abuse of pharmacy staff is never acceptable. Pharmacy is a key part of the national response and its workforce are entitled to be treated with the same respect as other key healthcare professionals. 

“This is an especially challenging time for the pharmacy profession and we condemn any abuse.”