St Albans pharmacist warns: ‘If you abuse us, you may lose us’

Pharmacists in Hertfordshire have faced verbal abuse during the coronavirus crisis.

Pharmacists in Hertfordshire have faced verbal abuse during the coronavirus crisis. - Credit: Archant

A St Albans pharmacist has issued a plea to customers to act responsibly during the coronavirus crisis – and warned people who misuse the system or are abusive that they risk losing some of their services.

Rachel Solanki, who owns Quadrant pharmacy in St Albans and is co-chair of Community Pharmacy Herts, was speaking out as pharmacists across the county experience a surge in demand for the services they provide – including dispensing medicines and giving health advice to people who might otherwise have gone to their GP.

The extra demand comes at a time of major national disruption to the supply chain, shortages of certain medicines combined with staff absences due to self-isolation and restricted access to GP surgeries.

Pharmacists and their teams are having to work even harder, not only to manage the supply of medicines but also to manage customers’ expectations during social distancing.

People are having to queue to get into a pharmacy and wait longer than usual, and in some instances, staff have been verbally abused.

Rachel said: “All our pharmacy teams are working incredibly hard under highly unusual and very stressful circumstances. We understand the worry many people have, particularly the older and more vulnerable in the community, because some of their regular medicines are in short supply - and the frustration of having to queue to get into a pharmacy or the difficulty in getting through on the phone. We’re simply asking the people of St Albans and across Hertfordshire to bear with us while we deal with everyone’s prescriptions and replenish our stocks of medicines.

“Stocks of common non-prescription medicines like ibuprofen and paracetamol which were in short supply are being replenished - but please only order what medicines you really need – and order them in good time. Above all, we’re simply asking everyone to please be patient.”

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The advice being given is to only visit your pharmacy for essential things; to check the NHS website for latest opening hours particularly around the next Bank Holidays in May; and if you can get someone else to collect your medicines, please do as it will free up a delivery slot for someone more vulnerable.