Pharmacies are under growing pressure and seeing a rise in patient aggression due to an ongoing medicine shortage.

Tony Dean, joint chief officer of Community Pharmacy Norfolk & Suffolk has urged for the government and NHS to work to address the issue, as staff are facing hours of extra work tracking down medication.

Currently, nationwide there is a shortage of diabetes, ADHD and Hormonal Replacement Therapy medication. 

Mr Dean said that pharmacists have been kept in the dark about the medications and their availabilities, which hinders their work. 

He said: “The Government and NHS must step in and do more to address ongoing supply chain disruptions.” 

 Joint Chief Officer of Community Pharmacy Norfolk & Suffolk Tony Dean urges the government to step inJoint Chief Officer of Community Pharmacy Norfolk & Suffolk Tony Dean urges the government to step in (Image: Community Pharmacy)

In a survey conducted by Community Pharmacy, it was noted that 91 per cent of pharmacy business owners reported experiencing a significant increase in medicine supply issues compared to last year. 

This has resulted in growing frustrations amongst patients with 84 per cent of respondents having experienced aggression from patients. 

"Our pharmacies want to be supporting and supplying medicines to patients at the heart of their communities, but fundamentally they need reliable access to medicines to do that," Mr Dean added.

He went on to say that sourcing medicines has become complex, meaning pharmacists are spending multiple hours each week just to track down medication for their patients. 

Mr Dean said that pharmacist spend multiple hours a week to track down medicinesMr Dean said that pharmacists spend multiple hours a week tracking down medicines

Patients have been noticing the additional stress on pharmacists as well.

Ipswich resident Nigel Davies, who suffers from Type 2 Diabetes would take the medication that has been in short supply since September 2023. 

He said: "To the best of my knowledge, I think there is a lot of misinformation about this medication, with many people trying it for weight loss instead of its key reason."

He added that pharmacists themselves have not been the issue.

Nigel Davis added that the pharmacists have always tried to help himNigel Davies added that the pharmacists have always tried to help him (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"They have always tracked down the medicines, or try to give me alternatives," he added.

"But the sad thing is that they just do not know either when or where medicines will be available. There is no communication with them, and so as a patient, I do not know anything and am constantly stressed."

Mr Davies said that every month the pharmacists have got him some alternative to his normal medication, but above all hopes for better communication.