Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacies are being closed and may never reopen again. Before the pandemic, the pharmacies were very close to closing, however the outbreak has now pushed them to the brink of collapse – experts highlight.
CEO of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiation Committee (PSNC), Simon Dukes, stated: “I am genuinely concerned that we will see COVID-19-related pharmacy closures and those businesses will not have the funds to open again; thus reducing the network of pharmacies on the high street just at the time when they are needed most. Community pharmacies are on the front line and are experiencing notable increases in the number of walk-ins and phone calls, numerous enquiries for delivery services, substantial price rises for common medicines and increasing levels of staff sickness. The sector needs urgent investment now just to keep the doors open and ensure that the vital services of dispensing and guidance/reassurance to patients and the treatment of minor ailments continues. There is no NHS medicines delivery service, if you have your medicines delivered it’s either because you pay for it as the patient or because the pharmacy is doing it for free. If we need medicines delivered, we need to see government funding.”
“Community Pharmacies Could be forced to Close due to the COVID-19 Pandemic“
National Pharmacy Association’s spokesperson stated: “Even short periods of closure can have a significant effect on pharmacy finances when profitability is at a low level, as is the case now for many pharmacies after years of underfunding. Many pharmacies are small businesses with existing cash flow problems. Coronavirus could exacerbate this situation, so an NHS scheme may be necessary to bring forward payments to pharmacy businesses and cover shortfalls.”
A statement from Numark, outlined: “The additional requirements are not insignificant, manage redeployment of staff dealing with potentially infected patients, equip with a patient support pack, review incident management and business continuity plans, fund the necessary requirements of decontamination, prepare and publish patient facing communication, the task list continues. If a pharmacy has to decontaminate it’s strongly advised to temporarily close during that process. If a key member of staff becomes infected, some pharmacies may even have to close causing further suffering. We must not underestimate the impact of this. The additional costs of business could be significant and ultimately could be the death knell for some community pharmacies already on their knees as a result of continued and consistent funding pressures.”