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Pharmacists warn of issues with social distancing, PPE

The majority of pharmacists are unable to maintain social distancing at work and one in three are still not able to get continuous supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), warns the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

A findings are from a snapshot survey of pharmacists, in which 94% of respondents said they were unable to maintain 2m social distancing from other staff in their workplace, while another 40% of respondents said they were unable to maintain social distancing from patients.

This is because pharmacies, and their dispensaries in particular, are often small and simply don’t allow for social distancing, the Society noted.

Also of concern, 34% of respondents said they are unable to source continuous supplies of PPE to protect themselves from potential infection by the public or colleagues at work.

“We are still hearing too many examples where pharmacy teams are finding it difficult to source the PPE they need to keep them safe in line with our recommendations. There should be no compromise on safety for pharmacy teams and PPE supplies to pharmacy need to reflect this,” said RPS president Sandra Gidley.

“Pharmacy teams are essential in the battle against this pandemic and patients are depending on us more than ever. Teams must be safeguarded if pharmacy services are going to be able to continue to function”.

“It is essential the government steps up and provides sufficient PPE to enable pharmacists to face the realities of working in a pharmacy during the pandemic.”