The Pharmacists’ Defence Association claims to have received reports of more than 50 unscheduled pharmacy closures in a single week in Scotland.
A new online tool allows PDA members to record incidents of pharmacies closing for all or part of the day, a phenomenon that is increasingly being reported on social media and in regional newspapers.
The PDA said that in the first week of the reporting tool being trialled in Scotland – where a “disproportionate number of instances” have been highlighted – over 50 closure reports were received. These were a mix of full day and part day closures involving a number of businesses, said the PDA.
Several social media reports have involved LloydsPharmacy, with some individuals accusing the multiple of refusing to open stores after failing to agree an hourly rate with locum pharmacists. The company has denied this, attributing closures to labour shortages and coronavirus.
While two Scottish health boards – NHS Tayside and NHS Lothian – have written to contractors this year warning of the impact of short-notice pharmacy closures, the PDA said that less than eight per cent of its members believe that all temporary closures are being reported, while six per cent think health boards are doing enough to monitor and manage this.
“More than 90 per cent of those reporting closures believe that closures have a significant impact on patients and 75 per cent say that closures happen too frequently in their area,” said the organisation.
Speaking to Pharmacy Network News last Friday (August 6), PDA national director Paul Day said temporary pharmacy closures were reaching “really worrying levels… we’re hearing more and more of it”.
The PDA has heard reports involving “virtually every CCA member,” he said, adding that independents appear to be less implicated.
Closures represent “a damage to patient access as well as being a breach of the pharmacy’s contract with the NHS,” he said.