AS closures, cancellations and innovations take place across the country due to the on-going Covid-19 crisis, pharmacists in Limavady have said it is important to remember that local community pharmacies are a front line health care provider and are urging the public to be considerate as they remain open to provide advice and medicines to patients.
Brendan Gormley, a local pharmacy owner in Limavady, told the Northern Constitution: “There has been an unprecedented number of prescriptions presented at local pharmacies and our staff are endeavouring to dispense medicines as soon as they can.
“So as to maintain vital services and protect the pharmacists and their teams, new restrictions may have to be implemented.
“This is necessary:
* To allow our pharmacists and dispensers the necessary time to prepare medication safely
* To ensure pharmacies are cleaned regularly to decrease infection,
* To replenish stock and to allow our staff time for protected breaks.”
Mr Gormley went on say that protection of staff is imperative during this time as pharmacy teams are a vitally important link in the supply chain for patients to receive advice and medication.
He continued:“At this point we have not received sufficient (PPE) Personal Protection Equipment and as this pandemic progresses, we may also require testing kits for our staff.
“Please rest assured we are working to the best of our ability.
“We ask for the public to be considerate and understand the challenging environment in which we are working.
“Please only buy and order the medicines that you need as stockpiling will adversely
affect the supply chain and may mean that those who really need medication may not be able to get them.”
Mr Gormley concluded: “Please accept our apologies for any delays you may experience but we are really doing our very best to provide a safe and efficient community pharmacy service.”
Meanwhile, Pharmacy Manager of Gordon’s Chemist in Limavady, Clare Henderson stressed the importance of not only looking after patients, but looking out for staff who are supplying essential medication to those in need.
She told the Northern Constitution: “The main message we want to get out is that we are trying to protect ourselves and our patients.
“We need to be well to continue to be here, operate the pharmacy and supply essential medication to those who rely on it.
“We are all closing pharmacies for one hour each day to clean/sanitize and get on top of the workload.
“We have worked together so that at least one pharmacy will be open whilst the other closes.
“This is how things are for now but public should be aware that we may have to reduce opening hours further.
“However we will be here doing our best to keep things running and will continue to supply medications so patients should not panic buy or panic order as this is what causes things to run out and adds an extra pressure on our services.”
Clare went on to praise the hard work and dedication of pharmacy staff, despite the panic and on-going concerns of Covid-19.
She went on: “Can I add a massive thank you to all the staff for all their hard work, their patience, their unwavering high levels of customer service and their support for me.
“I couldn’t do any of this without that team and now we are part of a wider team joining forces with the other four pharmacies in Limavady, as we work together and support each other to get our community through this as safely as possible.”