Patients face delays on prescriptions as lorry driver shortage hits pharmacies

“Pharmacies are a classic just-in-time supply chain,” stated Mr Hewitson. “There’s never huge amounts of surplus stock in the supply chain”.

Dimple Bhatia, who runs the Tollesbury pharmacy in rural east Essex, stated the disruption was hitting sufferers and costing pharmacies money.

He stated: “We don’t know if we’re getting stock or not, we’ve got urgent medicines to give to patients so we reorder it and then we get two lots in, with one turning up three days late. It’s an admin burden having to return it and if we return too much we get penalised. The whole thing is a shambles, really.”

Pharmacists stated they weren’t turning sufferers away however we’re as an alternative having to cellphone round different native pharmacies asking if they might assist or asking GPs to write down different prescriptions. 

“It can damage our reputation because people don’t understand the bigger picture,” stated Mr Bhatia.

Pharmacies had been already below intense strain, having taken on further burdens because of the pandemic. Mr Bhatia added: “We’re providing flu jabs, distributing lateral flow tests, we’ll be starting Covid booster shots next month and we’re providing advice because GP surgeries still haven’t got their doors open and so people are turning to their pharmacies for everything.” 

Customers in tears as a result of medication shortage

Mr Hewitson instructed The Telegraph: “It’s worrying [patients], if nothing else. I’ve had a woman in tears this morning who couldn’t get her medicine from her regular pharmacy. We were able to help her out.”

The disruption has additionally affected provides of over-the-counter drugs, with one provider stated to have suspended supply of all over-the-counter medicines for a number of weeks.

One cause for the shortage of drivers is the widely tight labour market, with employees much less keen to place up with lengthy hours and low pay. This has been exacerbated by remaining drivers being requested to work longer and extra frequent shifts.

Another issue is regarded as latest adjustments to IR35 freelancing guidelines. The Government has taken motion on firms treating full-time staff as freelancers. However, this has compelled some drivers who need to retain their freelance standing to work for a number of firms directly, leaving particular person companies with out assured service.

Asked in regards to the lack of van drivers, a spokesman from the Unite union instructed The Telegraph: “The casualisation of van driving work, with drivers being forced to be either bogusly self-employed or self-employed, coupled with long hours and poor rates of pay is leading to van drivers leaving the sector.”

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