Pharmacies across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are seeing a surge in demand as people “stock up” fearing there may be shortages of medicines due to Coronavirus.
“There is no shortage of medicines,” said leading pharmacist Amin Mitha, Head of Medicines Optimisation for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CCGs.
“But we have experienced a huge rise in demand. It is people ordering more than they normally would, earlier than they normally would and in some cases ordering medicines they have not used in a long while.
“This is unfortunately now being compounded by people ordering prescriptions and then not collecting them. One pharmacy I’m aware of had over 400 prescriptions waiting to be collected, causing storage problems.
“The message is clear,” said Amin. “Order what you would normally when you would normally.”
- Check what medicines you have now
- Only order more if you have less than one week’s supply
- Don’t order an increased quantity of medicines
- Don’t order early
- Don’t order “just in case”
- Don't telephone your pharmacy unless it's essential
- Inform your pharmacy and/or surgery if you have stopped taking any medicines
“In one neighbouring area a centralised prescription ordering system which normally gets 2,100 calls received 15,000 calls in one day. Although there is no equivalent centralised system in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, anecdotally we are seeing something similar.”
He added: “Please be assured that the supply chain to pharmacies is working normally. We just need demand to return to normal too.”
Both Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have hotlines available for residents who need prescriptions delivering because they are self-isolating.
- If you live in Staffordshire you can call the NHS Volunteer Responders helpline on 0800 028 8327 or Staffordshire County Council emergency helpline on 0300 111 8050
- If you live in Stoke-on-Trent you can call 0800 561 5610
Amin said: “Please follow official NHS Coronavirus/COVID-19 guidance on hand hygiene, self-isolating, social distancing and caring for the vulnerable. Please don’t take clinical advice from social media.”