Medication shortages a strain on pharmacies

19 Feb 2024


A pharmacy in the High Peak has called for kindness from people who may not realise the growing pressures staff are facing each day.

With medicines becoming harder to get hold of, pharmacy staff are feeling the strain and one pharmacy worker has spoken out about how difficult a job in the industry is becoming.

This worker from Buxton, who asked not be named, said :”I am looking for a new job because every day is a struggle and I don’t enjoy my job anymore.

“Patients are rude and take it out on us that their medications aren’t ready but it really isn’t our fault.

“We get shouted at and sworn at on a weekly basis, if not more than once a week.”

The pharmacy worker says since Brexit and Covid it is harder to get hold of medicines.

It was reported earlier this month that nationally ‘111 different medicines - such as cholesterol drugs and hormone replacement therapies - are routinely in short supply which is double the number in 2022’.

The pharmacy worker said: “We understand people are struggling and people rely on their medications but if we don’ have it we will have to order it.

“We can place an order and that medication may take two or more days to get here as it has to come from a central supplier.

“I think people are so used to ordering online and getting same day and next day delivery that people forget that this isn’t the same as ordering clothes or something for your house.

“These are medicines and treatments we are dealing with and to keep people safe we need to check the right thing has been delivered and the right amount prescribed so it is not just a quick sort.”

One person who has noticed the delays in getting the right medication is Donna Smythe, from Fairfield.

The 53-year-old was diagnosed with chronic obstruction pulmonary disease, COPD, in her 40s. She also suffers with sciatica and emphysema and relies on regular weekly medication to ease her symptoms.

She said: “My recent prescription was delayed by half a week.

“I was in so much pain and because of the strong drugs I take to manage my pain I ended up having withdrawal symptoms which made it harder to manage my pain.

“Before that I was getting my prescription delivered and there were always bits missing as the pharmacy has been unable to get them.”

Donna says she has changed the pharmacy she uses as she has been struggling with delayed prescriptions.

The pharmacy worker said: “Locally we all use the same supplier so if there is a wait it is because the central supplier hasn’t got it.

“The only way a pharmacy may be able to fulfil a prescription quicker is if they have the items on the shelves already but everyone I have spoken to is struggling and in the same situation.

“To those people waiting on medicines: please note we are trying our very best to help you as best we can but if we haven’t got something in please remember we are only human. We don’t come to work to be shouted at and a little kindness can go a long way.”


By Lucy Ball, Buxton Advertiser, 25 January 2024