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South Lincolnshire pharmacies struggling to cope with demand – with lack of cover highlighted in Spalding and Holbeach

Patients are facing long delays in getting prescriptions – with high demand and a lack of pharmacy cover blamed for the struggles experienced by this service.

Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board has acknowledged that there are staff shortages within the area’s pharmacy sector and has set up a group in a bid to boost numbers.

Some patients have reported waiting 10 days or more to have their prescription dispensed by pharmacies in the Spalding area – which have become busier since the loss of the Lloyds Pharmacy branch in Sainsbury’s last year. Signs have also emerged at pharmacies across the area warning people of longer-than-normal waits for medicines.

Pharmacies are under pressure (stock picture)
Pharmacies are under pressure (stock picture)

The ICB has also acknowledged that Holbeach does not have a pharmacy service on a Sunday and highlighted that the nearest was in Boston’s Asda store – which is a 25 minute drive.

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A statement on the website for the Munro Medical Centre in Spalding stated: “We have noticed that some pharmacies have been advising patients that prescriptions have not been received, when actually this is sitting in the dispensary queue at the chemist awaiting dispensing. When collecting your medication it is worth asking whether they have checked their systems. The practice uses an electronic signing prescription service which speeds this process up dramatically and a full audit trail can be viewed.

“Following the recent closure of Lloyds Pharmacy in Sainsburys, local chemists are extremely busy and have requested seven days notice to dispense routine prescriptions.”

Coun Glynis Scalese
Coun Glynis Scalese

Social care worker and nurse Glynis Scalese, a district councillor, said local services are now busier.

Coun Scalese, who praised West Elloe Pharmacy, said: “It has had a huge impact when Lloyds closed and times for prescriptions and repeats to be allocated to people are taking longer then they should.

“Some people have told me that they have had to wait 10 days.

“It goes back to the same old things of funding and staff levels.”

Chemists have faced increased demand (stock picture)
Chemists have faced increased demand (stock picture)

Sarah Phoenix, who launched community support group Holbeach Heroes, has called on health bosses to run a trial service for the town on a Sunday to help those people who do not have transport.

She said: “Holbeach is growing, it is getting bigger and bigger. I do think it would be a good idea if they looked at it.”

Coun Tracey Carter, who represents the town on the district and county councils, said: “I would always welcome additional services for residents wherever possible, including pharmacy services on a Sunday.

“Boots in Spalding does open on a Sunday but I appreciate it isn’t always easy for everyone to be able to travel to Spalding. Local supermarkets do sell some limited pharmacy items but obviously not more specialist items that may be required in more of an emergency situation, so absolutely I think it’s certainly something that should be explored as it would be of benefits to the residents of Holbeach and nearby areas.

“I would happy to have conversations with relevant parties to see if there is any help we can offer to encourage and enable it for the future.”

Coun Tracey Carter
Coun Tracey Carter

An ICB spokesman said: “South Holland district covers a big geographical area. Delays to prescriptions could be due to drug shortages, which unfortunately seems to be a more frequent occurrence and reasons for this are often multifactorial, such as supply chain disruptions, manufacturers unable to source active ingredients etc.

“The ICB has identified workforce pressures within community pharmacies in Lincolnshire and has set up ‘Lincolnshire Pharmacy Faculty’ to address workforce pressure, encourage students to train as pharmacists/pharmacy technicians and, most importantly, attract more pharmacy professionals into Lincolnshire.”

He also said that Chief Pharmacist and Community Pharmacy Clinical Lead are working with the Public Health consultant to review the Pharmaceutical Assessment Needs for the area.

What do you think? Have you experienced delays in getting medicines from a pharmacy? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below

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