Residents are facing the situation of being advised to plan their pharmacy visits and repeat prescription collections carefully over the next three weeks due to a shortage of Pharmacist cover impacting one chain of pharmacies on the island.

Lloyds has been struggling to provide cover at some of its Manx stores in recent weeks; however, this position is set to deteriorate further over the next three weeks until locum support can be secured from the UK. This means that some of the chain’s stores may be working to reduced hours or closed around the island, with staff being relocated to other stores to make sure there is Pharmacy coverage in all major towns and villages.

Lloyds Pharmacy stores account for 10 of the island’s 23 community pharmacies.

A Manx Care statement said: ‘This issue is not impacting the other 13 community pharmacists across the Isle of Man. They will remain open for business as usual over the next three weeks for prescription collections, provision of walk-in advice and other Pharmacy-related services. Manx residents can use any of these stores to collect prescriptions or seek Pharmacist support they may ordinarily have sought elsewhere. They should not be worried about accessing pharmacy services or medication in the coming weeks. Lloyds is working to finalise a plan detailing which of its stores will be open and closed across the next three weeks. This will be published as soon as possible on the Isle of Man Government’s social media channels, Manx Care’s social media channels and the Isle of Man Government website on the ‘Pharmacy services’ page.’

Residents who order repeat prescriptions and rely on deliveries from Lloyds should check with their regular store that the delivery will be as expected. Similarly, anyone planning to visit a Lloyds branch over the coming weeks should phone ahead to check that it’s open first. Collecting planned repeat prescriptions should be done in plenty of time and not left until a current prescription is about to run out. Anyone who cannot get their prescription dispensed at their regular pharmacy can take this and have it dispensed somewhere else.

Maria Bell, Pharmaceutical Adviser for Manx Care, commented: “Firstly, I’d like to reassure Manx residents that they will be able to access medication, collect prescriptions and seek walk-in advice at Pharmacies on the island over the next three weeks, although in some cases it may not be at their usual pharmacy. Manx Care is working very closely to support Lloyds at the moment. The UK-wide shortage of qualified Pharmacists is sadly not a new predicament, and at times this impacts the locum provision some of the Pharmacies can access here on the island. Unfortunately the situation has only been exacerbated across the last 18 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, given that many of the locums working across the British Isles are EU citizens who’ve chosen to return home to be closer to their families.

‘We want to make sure that some of the harder-to-reach members of our community are aware of this situation and so if you have friends, relatives or people living in your local community who use pharmacy services and may not have ready access to social media, please make them aware of this so that they can plan accordingly.’

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