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One in three pharmacy workers confident in government’s COVID response

Numerous respondents blamed the government for a lack of PPE and COVID-19 tests
Numerous respondents blamed the government for a lack of PPE and COVID-19 tests

Over a third of pharmacy professionals in England are “somewhat” or “very” confident about the government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, an exclusive C+D survey has revealed.

Thirty-two per cent of 745 community pharmacy professionals based in England said they were “somewhat confident” in the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, while 6% were “very confident”.

This is despite pharmacies struggling to source personal protective equipment (PPE), being contractually obliged to open over the Easter bank holiday and a £300 million advance funding package open to English pharmacies that will have to be paid back in the future.

The C+D survey, which ran from April 1 to May 10, found that 25% of respondents were “neither confident nor unconfident” in the government’s handling of the pandemic, while 21% said they were “somewhat unconfident”.

A further 16.5% of respondents said they were “very unconfident” in the government’s response.

Mixed opinions

One respondent accused the government of being “obsessed with soundbite targets” but said it “doesn't appear to have any clear strategy” or “grasp of the detail”.

Other respondents said the government responded to the pandemic “too late”, and “only remembered pharmacy when prompted”, whereas numerous individuals cited a lack of PPE and COVID-19 tests as key failings.

However, some pharmacy professionals defended the government’s actions, and said that the unprecedented nature of the pandemic meant it was “never going to get everything right”.

“Not all of this is the government’s fault – other agencies should be held to account too,” one respondent said.

Business support

When asked specifically about the business support measures implemented by the government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, 38% of respondents said the measures were “good first steps, but not nearly enough”.

Of the remaining respondents, 27% said the measures are “just a drop in the ocean, compared to what is really needed”; 23% said it is too early to tell what impact they might have, and 12% said the government has “really stepped up when it comes to supporting businesses”.

Further findings from the survey, which looked at the impact of COVID-19 on the community pharmacy sector, are to follow.

What do you think of the government's COVID-19 response?

Caring Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Owners fail to give accurate information and provide only suiting to them as above for example £250 per hour rate paid on bank holidays !! Was the staff paid increased rate!!

£25000 grant from govenment for disruption 

Rates cancelled for a whole year

Business got busier as result of Covid 19 and as result overall at best no change to profitability of a pharmacy over the year.

Just as supermarkets had a windfall for rates cancellation and so has the Pharmacies

people on street are asking for a special tax on supermarkets to recover this payment and should the pharmacies be the same I wonder?


P M, Community pharmacist

people on the streets.. dont make me laugh... 


caring pharmacist not a chance..


Peed Off Superintendent, Superintendent Pharmacist

Unbelievable that anyone except the government think that this is being handled correctly....and these 32% are supposedly intelligent professionals...

FACTS.....2nd highest death rate in the world.....nhs staff still with no PPE.......clearing out undiagnosed covid patients from hospitals into care homes causing additional thousands of deaths.....millions of people flying into UK and not being quarantined....lack of testing from day 1....lockdown introduced too late....and incidentally the economy and life as we used to know it is forever screwed....well done Boris and your scientist mates

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

So which do you protect? People's lives or the economy? You can't have both. The Government (and I don't care which party it is - they would all have the same problem) can't do right for doing wrong and no matter what the response, someone will suffer. There is a finite pot of money (the moneytree got blight and died years ago), we can't borrow our way completely out of this because then our economy would be crippled for GENERATIONS so, for example, they give more money to pharmacy, which is then taken from the pot allocated to, say, testing. You then get happier pharmacists but unhappy people calling for testing. It is totally pointless to criticize the government for what it has done wrong (and yes, they have made mistakes) in a completely unprecedented situation without proposing credible alternatives, otherwise you are guilty of kneejerk slagging off which achieves nothing. Personally, I think the Government has done a decent job in the circumstances, life as we know it MAY return eventually but mistakes, and big ones at that have been made (e.g. carehomes) but because this was all being done with ridiculous speed because of those circumstances, things didn't go exactly as planned. Imagine if you had 1000 prescriptions and one hour to do them all. You would not get them 100% right, just mostly right.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

We'll have to wait until this all pans out to see how good the government response is/was. If, in 12 months time, we are all living in cardboard boxes it was bad, if everything is back to where it had been then it's good. There is no point to articles like this other than to stir anti- (or pro- depending on your standpoint)government feeling. The one thing I would say is, thank god labour didn't win.

Tas Bhatti, Community pharmacist

So 66 percent have no confidence? I would have lead with that....poor journalism tbh

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

So you've obviously never had to put a positive spin on any part of your customer service survey? This does show a bit of a lack of neutrality though. Should have reported purely numbers.

Caring Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

only because the govt have given unprecedented amount of money to the pharmacy owners 

staff still struggling as usual

Tas Bhatti, Community pharmacist

Are you having a laugh? The total amount given to pharmacies is 300 quid towards protective screens installed. The grandiose funding of 300 million announced was simply and ADVANCE they would have paid anyway. So they are planning on clawing that back over the coming months. You need to do your research.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I do agree with you on this one Tas. There is much pain to come for pharmacy.

Andy Krestoff, Locum pharmacist

Phrasing is important. This would be more accurately stated as Two Thirds of Pharmacy Staff not confident in Government Response.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Not strictly true - I get your point, but by half a percent, of those actually expressing an opinion one way or another, the 'confident' side wins (although if you add up the figures it comes to 100.5 so it could well be a score draw).

You could also title the article 'A quarter of Pharmacy staff dunno'

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