PDA: Scottish NHS allowing multiples to close to patients
The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said some health boards in Scotland have given the green light to pharmacy owners to close on Saturdays this summer, creating ripple effects for patients and other healthcare providers.
The PDA said that in certain NHS health board regions contractors have been told they may close on Saturdays in July and August. It warned of the impact this will have on the wider network, with PDA director Paul Day telling Pharmacy Network News that some patients may struggle to access their medicines as a result, potentially driving more visits to emergency departments.
While pharmacy multiples have blamed staffing shortages for the rise in temporary closures over the past few years, Mr Day told PNN that since health boards wrote to businesses some of them have chosen to close on Saturdays for which staff had already been booked.
The PDA said: “In Ayrshire, one national pharmacy chain has given notice to the Health Board of their intention to close all their pharmacies on Saturdays, even in communities where there is no other pharmacy readily accessible to patients.”
Mr Day said the PDA has been raising concerns for some time with the NHS in Scotland around multiples closing their doors temporarily, arguing that “the independents are managing to stay open”.
The organisation urged the Scottish government “to end unnecessary pharmacy closures and introduce emergency regulations to force the for-profit companies that operate Scotland’s pharmacies to open on the days and hours they have agreed”.
This should include financial sanctions “where necessary,” it said, adding that in extreme cases the NHS should have the option of taking over the running of a pharmacy.