Pharmacists struggle to get continuous supply of PPE, reveals survey

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13th May 2020 17:36 - Pharmaceutical

Pharmacists struggle to get continuous supply of PPE: A survey conducted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has found that a third (34%) of pharmacists working in the UK are finding it difficult to obtain a continuous supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The piece of research questioned 445 pharmacists about their current position and experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It also highlighted the difficulties in maintaining a distance of two metres from other staff members and patients - the minimum distance recommended by the Government to help prevent the spread of the virus. The survey found that more than nine out of 10 respondents (94%) were finding it impossible to maintain social distancing with other staff members, largely due to the pharmacy or dispensary spaces being too small. Two-fifths (40%) also reported that they were unable to maintain a two metre distance from people using the pharmacy. 

The survey was carried out in April over 6 days (14th - 20th), with the results coming in after Public Health England updated its guidance on PPE (10th April). This states that pharmacy staff need to wear fluid resistant surgical masks (FRSMwhen in contact with patients who have suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, but not around staff they work alongside in the pharmacy. 

Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, said:

“[The Society] strongly recommends that everyone working in a pharmacy who is unable to maintain two metres social distance from either patients or other staff members should wear a FRSM.”

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