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06 April 2020
Pharmacists report rise in abusive and aggressive behaviour

Image credit: Community Pharmacy Scotland

Pharmacists report rise in abusive and aggressive behaviour

Scottish pharmacists have reported an increase in abusive and aggressive behaviour from customers, with staff being verbally abused and fights started outside stores, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) of Scotland says.

RPS Scotland chair Jonathan Burton, who is a pharmacist in Stirling, said reports of aggressive behaviour towards pharmacy staff was “totally unacceptable”.

“I have been shocked to hear of pharmacy teams being verbally abused. I have also heard of fights starting outside pharmacy premises. This is totally unacceptable behaviour,” he said.

“Community pharmacists and their teams are doing everything they possibly can to help in very difficult circumstances.

“They are under significant pressure and they need the help of the public so they can continue to provide vital healthcare support. I ask that that anyone who needs to visit a pharmacy remains patient and is respectful to all pharmacy staff.”

RPS Scotland said it had taken its concerns to police “to help make sure that all pharmacy teams across the NHS are kept safe and protected against any forms of aggressive, violent and abusive behaviour”.

The society has asked patients and the public to refrain from visiting a pharmacy if they or anyone in their household has a temperature or a new and continuous cough, and asked others to plan ahead and order their prescription seven days before it is due.

For people handing in prescription, RPS Scotland advises people to add relevant contact details so that the community pharmacies can let you know when your medicines are ready, and to ask friends, family or neighbours to pick up medication if a person is self-isolating.

“RPS Scotland recognises that these are unprecedented times which call for new ways of working. They ask that everyone who needs to visit a pharmacy respect the staff who are working hard to support every patient with their medication needs,” the society said, in a statement.

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