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EPB chair: Public must be patient with pharmacies over Covid LFTs

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EPB chair: Public must be patient with pharmacies over Covid LFTs

English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind has pleaded with the public to be patient with pharmacy teams as they begin charging for lateral flow tests today.

The government’s decision to scrap free tests has caused concern within community pharmacy that pharmacists could face a backlash from patients frustrated at having to pay. The price of the tests will vary in different pharmacies.

“As pharmacists we appreciate that spending money on testing will be a challenge to the family budget for many, especially during the cost-of-living crisis,” said Ms Govind.

“However, people need to remain patient with pharmacy teams. We are not responsible for whether LFTs are free or not. I’ve been enormously impressed by the care and dedication being shown by so many pharmacy professionals, who have pulled out all the stops to look after people over the past two years.”

There are also concerns that Covid infection rates will continue to increase if people stop testing because of the charge.

"I get where the government is coming from in terms of cost and the fact that at some point we have to learn to live with this virus, but because it's a new virus it's difficult to know how it's going to behave," pharmacist Temi Fabiyi told the BBC.

"If people cannot test, they cannot isolate and I'm afraid the infection rate might keep rising."

Tests will remain free for care home residents, hospital patients where a PCR test is required for their care, those who are eligible for community Covid drug treatments and workers in high-risk settings such as care homes and prisons.

Ms Govind called for tests to be free for all health and care staff “to keep patients and the public safe, as well as staff".

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