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Frequently Asked Questions
Mar 2020
Coronavirus Pharmacy FAQs
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Your Questions Answered!
1. Why are there such large queues?

Due to increasing risk of Coronavirus and the lack of physical distancing between patients in store we very quickly had to implement a 2 in 2 out door policy to support recommended social distancing of 2 meters between individuals. We had no choice in order to protect the public & our staff and all pharmacies have introduced similar measures nationally. In addition, several other factors have created a perfect storm in the last week:
• We have temporarily lost some dispensing staff to self-isolation
• Unprecedented amounts of prescriptions have been ordered in the last week due to general public panic about Coronavirus. This has created backlogs in dispensing
• We have staff in vulnerable groups and needed to instigate changes to our procedures to protect them
• We have seen a surge in phone & email enquiries relating to Covid19 and also seeking deliveries

Rest assured our team are doing their utmost to cope with what has been an unprecedented spike in demand. We have been trialing new processes to ensure no-one has to queue twice (Fast-return pass). We have hired several new staff for both dispensing and delivery roles and we are liaising with community groups & volunteer to support delivery to vulnerable people (see below)

We are aware a large number of patients have recently ordered their medication earlier than it is needed due to worries about Coronavirus. Please do NOT come to the pharmacy UNLESS you are actually running low on repeat medication. The pharmacy WILL remain open throughout the coming weeks so there is no need to come in early. Doing so is just making queues worse and preventing patients that are running out from collecting their medication.

2. What are your current opening hours?

From Monday 30th March 2020 the pharmacy is open to the public from 9am-4.30pm Monday-Friday.

There is no longer a lunch time closure, we believe this will enable better queue management with the staff we currently have available.

Staff will be on site outside these hours in order to conduct essential cleaning, preparing deliveries for self isolating patients and catching up on dispensing workload so we can reduce queues as soon as possible.

Any key workers that cannot get a friend or relative to collect within these times can arrange a next day collection time between 8.00-9.00am and 4.30-6pm if required by emailing sheffordpharmacy@nhs.net. Work ID will be requested.

3. How can I order my repeat prescription now that the Surgery is not accepting paper request slips?

The GPs system online website is the best way to order prescriptions : https://systmonline.tpp-uk.com/2/Login?Date=20200324151008

If you have this, please use it. Log-ins for this can be requested via surgery email: admin.drcakebread@nhs.net

If you do not have access to this , please do not contact the pharmacy as we are unable to place prescription orders.

As an alternative, if needs be you can email orders to the GP practice direct on shefford.dispensary@nhs.net

Please keep GP and Pharmacy phone lines free for the elderly and most vulnerable in our society, those that cannot use any of the above OR have no family that can do the above for them. The GP practice phone number is 01462 818620 (general enquiries)

4. How will I know when my prescription is ready?
The GP online system will give you the date on which your prescription will be ready (usually 7 days) . We can now send you an SMS notification to tell you when your order is dispensed & ready to collect. Let us know your mobile number to be added to this service by emailing your name & date of birth to sheffordpharmacy@nhs.net

5. Can I have my prescription delivered?

There are two groups of patients we are aiming to prioritise for delivery:
a. Vulnerable Group - broadly speaking if you usually qualify for an NHS Flu Jab you are in this group
b. High Risk "Shield" Group - this is a subset of the vulnerable group at particularly high risk from Covid19 . These patients are being contacted by the NHS this week to advise them to stay at home for 12 weeks. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

We are working on a plan to support our vulnerable & high risk patients with home delivery so they can stay safe at home including recruiting more drivers. If you have a friend/relative/neighbour that can collect on your behalf that would help ensure we can help those that absolutely need delivery.

The Town Council are helping us co-ordinate with volunteers to collect on behalf of vulnerable patients:

Approved volunteer phone numbers to contact to request delivery in your locality ONLY if you are in a vulnerable group or MUST self isolate ie those patients that need to be "shielded":

Shefford only
Francesca 07923224636



Care Scheme = 07817614654

We can also do a contact-less hand-over to your vehicle in the car park if you are in a vulnerable group.

Our pharmacy drivers will be delivering as many as possible for existing delivery patients as well but it would help us manage workload & reduce queues if you can contact above numbers to give them consent to collect your prescription on your behalf.

6. Should I continue to take my anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen?
Again there has been a large amount of mis-information on social media. There is currently no evidence to suggest a link between ibuprofen and worsening Covid19 symptoms.

Current advice is:
a. If you need to take something for a temperature – take paracetamol unless you have been told you cannot by your doctor
b. If you have been prescribed ibuprofen for other conditions then you should not stop taking it unless advised to do so by a health professional

Further reliable information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ibuprofen-use-and-covid19coronavirus

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