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How Lowestoft’s pharmacies are keeping people safe during coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 14 June 2020

Tracey Johnston, Michelle Stoneman, and Stacie Wright behind the counter at East Point Pharmacy, Kirkley Mill Campus. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

Tracey Johnston, Michelle Stoneman, and Stacie Wright behind the counter at East Point Pharmacy, Kirkley Mill Campus. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

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With the uncertainty of lockdown looming it was not surprising most people decided to collect medicines for themselves, loved ones and some volunteered to collect for strangers over the same few weeks leading to increased demand leading to some Pharmacies increased opening hours.

Kayleigh Gowing, Hannah Eastell, Rachel Procter, Tara Riches and Michelle Neary at the Well Pharmacy on Westwood Avenue. PHOTO: Jessica DanielsKayleigh Gowing, Hannah Eastell, Rachel Procter, Tara Riches and Michelle Neary at the Well Pharmacy on Westwood Avenue. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

Recent data from the NHS shows a record high in prescription items being dispensed in March of this year, with 92 million, an increase of 10 million in comparison to March 2019.

With the virus spreading in the UK, Pharmacies put measures in place measures to keep staff and customers safe.

Peripatetic pharmacist Nagwa Todross, 60, who works part-time in multiple Pharmacies in the region, said: “Most of the pharmacies I’ve worked in implemented the NHS Guidelines as they arrived.

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“We have a screen fitted at the counter to help minimise the contact and spread of the virus from droplets, some pharmacies even have a basin and ask costumers to wash their hands before they come in the pharmacy or handsanitiser and also we have allowed only a maximum, depending on the size of the pharmacy, of one to four costumers at one time so that also helps to keep social distancing.

“We have also received all the PPE provided by NHS England which includes wearing an apron, gloves and mask and we have some visors as well, when we believe it’s necessary. It’s really quite good.”

Mrs Todross said at the start there was a period where she had a lot of “anxiety regarding the contact with everyone and the patients as well as always remembering to have a two-metre distance.”

The government guideline of two metre social distancing can be difficult to achieve in small pharmacy environments and instead some companies resort to wearing masks in the work environment.

Tara Riches, pharmacist manager at Well Pharmacy, Westwood Avenue. PHOTO: Jessica DanielsTara Riches, pharmacist manager at Well Pharmacy, Westwood Avenue. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

Mrs Todross also assured those who were nervous to come to the pharmacy, saying: “There is a lot of guidelines being implemented in pharmacies and we make sure that customers are safe when they come to our pharmacy.

“As long as they comply with what is required of them, they should be at minimal risk. There is plenty of signage, posters, places where they can stand, tape on the ground, a lot of things that will be obvious and clear to them if they read all the notices and the signs.”


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