Bucks pharmacists prepared to deal with ' no deal Brexit' medicine shortages
According to national reports, shortages in medicine supplies could be made worse by uncertainties over Brexit, causing some panicked patients to stockpile their medication.
However, at a meeting of Bucks County Council’s (BCC) health and adult social care select committee this week, pharmacists assured members action has been take to prepare for further shortages in medical supplies in Bucks.
Member of the Buckinghamshire Local Pharmaceutical Committee, Pankaj Shah, said community pharmacies will continue working collaboratively to share supplies so patients receive the medication they need.
This month draft legislation was laid in parliament known as the serious shortage protocol – which will be put in place in pharmacies if there are major medicine shortages.
The new laws would give pharmacists the power to give an alternative to the medicine prescribed, following discussion with the patient.
Mr Shah added pharmacists are used to dealing with medicine shortages, and he is confident they will be able to handle any issues effectively.
He said: “Today we just want to assure we are planning a smooth transfer for medicine supplies while we wait the decision of Brexit.
“We want to make sure there is no impact on patient healthcare. We want to assure everyone historically pharmacies have always dealt with shortages very well.
“This is an ongoing issue in community pharmacies. The pharmacists will always make the right clinical decision for the patient.
“Pharmacies always network with each other to overcome issues.
“Locally, the Bucks Local Pharmaceutical Committee is working with relevant bodies to make sure there is a smooth transition phase. Advice to patients and pharmacies is not to stockpile.”
Mr Shah went on to assure members that action has been taken to prevent shortages of the flu vaccine – after issues with the supplier meant some Bucks patients struggled to get the jab last year.
He said: “There was lot of miscommunication in that ground. I think we have learnt a lot from this scenario.
“There is a flu committee and we are going to make sure it doesn’t happen next year. From the details we have, the vaccines have been sorted out so there shouldn’t be any problem for vaccines this year.”
Policy officer at BCC, Marco Dias, said the council is working with government and other partners across the Thames Valley to prepare for “all eventualities” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
He said: “It’s really reassuring to hear our community pharmacies are so resilient. I think, from BCC’s perspective, is just to reassure residents we are working with central government and other partners in the Thames Valley area and beyond to prepare for all eventualities for no deal Brexit.
“I think medicines is one example where different things are being put in place across the country to make sure we are resilient and can deal with it when it comes.”