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COVID-19 is a stark reminder of how indispensable pharmacy is

Community pharmacists have stepped up to the front line in the war against COVID-19

There are several things I’d like to say to C+D readers right now. That is, of course, if you even have time to read this, given the accounts of seriously overworked pharmacy teams that have come flooding in.

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have well and truly taken hold, the public has been reminded once again just how indispensable community pharmacy teams are. As the UK struggles to get used to extreme living conditions that look set to become the new normal for at least the next few weeks, community pharmacy services have remained a constant. They’re a comfort at a time when the news is updated every five minutes.

So firstly, I’d like to say that I’m sorry for the extra stress this must be causing you. In circumstances where even the most robust people are feeling the strain, I can’t imagine what it must be like to handle the public’s hysteria face-to-face every day.

I want to offer solidarity as you try to keep up with all the latest COVID-19 developments, which range from emergency funding measures to fast-moving clinical advice on best practice to changing regulations. We get it – it’s a lot for us to get our heads around too, which is why we’ve placed all of our COVID-19 content in one handy hub.

But mostly I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for putting your fears aside and going into work every day to serve the communities that need you most in this most challenging of times. Thank you for the expert advice you’ve given to soothe panicked patients. Thank you to the pharmacists in Northern Ireland, who have put aside entirely justified plans to take industrial action so that the most vulnerable can access their medicines during a global health crisis.

I cannot say it enough. We, the public, recognise all you have been doing and we appreciate it. Thank you.

For the past six years, I’ve been proud to write for community pharmacists, but I can truly say that I’ve never been prouder to work for the sector than now. The past few days have proven once and for all the immense value that only bricks-and-mortar pharmacies bring to communities around the UK, but they’ve also highlighted the compassion, diligence and hard work at the very heart of the profession. It’s heartening to see them remain open during these unsettling times.

We know the coming weeks will be difficult – possibly the most difficult of your careers. But one way to fight the effects of this pandemic is through spreading accurate information. So, the C+D team will continue to bring you the latest news as we have it. It’s our mission to support you through every step of this. After all you’ve done, and will continue to do, it seems like our way of showing even a fraction of our gratitude.

Beth Kennedy is editor of C+D. Tweet her @CandDBeth

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