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COVID-19: Dispensing volume up 25%, NPA reports

Community pharmacy saw a 25% increase in dispensing volume between February and March and a 300% increase in home deliveries, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has said.

Preliminary data from the NPA shows that “prescription numbers went up by approximately 25% from February to March”, the representative body told C+D yesterday (April 8).

Some pharmacies have also reported “an increase of 300% in home deliveries”, while phone calls made to them “have at least tripled”, the NPA added. .

“All pharmacies report a big increase in working hours, often requiring the hiring of locum staff to meet workload,” it said

Demand for medicines and advice has risen dramatically, which is stretching pharmacy resources and the stamina of pharmacy staff, to its limits.”

The organisation has called for “more support, including protective equipment and a cash injection, to keep vital services going” and help the sector keep up with the rise in demand

“Demand has been overwhelming”

Rifat Asghar-Hussain, superintendent pharmacist at Evergreen Pharmacy and Green Cross Pharmacy in Birmingham, agreed that dispensing has risen by around 25%.

The increased demand “has been overwhelming”, Ms Asghar-Hussain told C+D today (April 9).

She added that her team has recently been receiving referrals from local doctors and dentists,

“Let’s just say that temporary tooth fillings are now out of stock,” she said. 

Tony Schofield, owner and superintendent of Flagg Court Pharmacy in South Shields, said the workload has been “gruelling”. While dispensing workload has increased by around 25% overall, it “more than doubled at one point”, he added

“Whatever the increase, [the] issue has been staff”, with some staff members off work sick or self-isolating due to the outbreak, Mr Schofield said. This has meant working 12 hours, seven days a week, he explained.

How has the coronavirus outbreak affected your workload?

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