No need to order extra medicine as GPs provide reassurance there is enough to go around

People across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being reminded not to ask for extra medicine from their pharmacist or GP, as the supply chain remains resilient against the current coronavirus outbreak.

The call comes as many local GP practices and pharmacists report of more and more people requesting more than their usual prescription for fear of stocks running low.

Dr Ruth Grabham, incoming Medical Director for the soon-to-be merged Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, reassured local people there is enough to go around.

She said: “In the same way that supermarkets have asked shoppers to be sensible with their groceries, we are asking our patients to do the same with their prescriptions.

“We understand this is an anxious time, and that many in the community want the reassurance of a continuously well-stocked medicine cabinet, but there is no need to fear that our supply of medicines will suddenly run out.

“In fact, the process of producing and delivering medicine is incredibly resilient and, just as we saw in the months leading up to the UK’s departure from the European Union, there is enough to go around, so long as people continue to ask for what they would normally.

“Getting on top of the coronavirus outbreak is not a task that only our doctors and nurses can achieve, but one that calls for the cooperation, understanding and patience of the entire community, and being sensible when ordering prescriptions is one very simple way of supporting the national effort.”

Other ways in which people can get on board with helping the NHS in their community include not queuing outside pharmacies before opening hours, which goes against the government’s social distancing advice, and also not making consecutive calls to prescription ordering services, as the excessive demand can cause phone lines to jam.

Pharmacists are aware that some medicines, such as inhalers and over-the-counter paracetamol, have fallen victim to oversubscription, in the same way that hand sanitiser and toilet paper did in supermarkets.

These short-term gaps in supply are no cause for alarm as new stocks are constantly arriving, however people are again advised to not take more than is needed, especially as doing so puts more people at risk of potentially going without.

The newly-announced NHS Volunteer Responder scheme is also helping to get vital medicines to vulnerable people who are unable to leave their homes. Any person who is fit, healthy and showing no signs of possible coronavirus infection can register to become an NHS volunteer by visiting www.goodsamapp.org/NHS.