People have been urged to bear with overstretched pharmacy staff in Braunton and beyond and to hold off on collecting prescriptions unless it is essential.
North Devon MP Selaine Saxby has moved to address the concerns about the Lloyds Pharmacy at Caen Medical Centre, which yesterday (Tuesday, March 24) saw some customers queuing for several hours.
Ms Saxby urged people with enough medicines for a few days to hold on until next week and give short-staffed pharmacies such as Braunton the opportunity to catch up with a huge backlog of orders.
She said pharmacies across the country were dealing with ‘unprecedented demand’, adding: “In addition, their staff are not immune to the virus and many of our chemists already have staff who are unwell or self-isolating where family members have symptoms.
“In the same way as we are asking people not to stock pile food, please, if you have enough medicines for the next few days, please wait until next week to visit clearly overstretched pharmacies in our area.
“There are also increasing numbers of pharmacies who offer a delivery services and there are lots of volunteers who can collect prescriptions for you if you are over 70 and staying at home, or are shielded. Please use these services next week or the week after and stay at home to save lives.”
She said she had spoken to senior management at Lloyds in Braunton, which had been badly affected by long queues and staff shortages.
She said: “They are behind on dispensing because of a combination of unprecedented demand and a backlog in processing prescriptions.
“They are working on relocating other staff to assist and improving their systems so people are not waiting for prescriptions that are not yet ready.
“I know these are difficult times, but if your prescription is non-urgent, or you are stocking up for your 12 weeks in self-isolation, please ensure your immediate needs are catered for, but come next week rather than this to enable the pharmacy in Braunton to catch up.
“Those in the Braunton queue have shown brilliant social distancing, however, just queuing for so many hours is stressful in itself. At this difficult time I hope we can all look after each other, and please try next week if you can wait, or ask a kindly volunteer, of which there are a growing army in North Devon who want to help.”
“If you wish to volunteer yourself in or around Braunton, please go to www.brauntoncommunity.org/ to find out more.”