Medicines supply issues are a daily battle, Pressures Survey confirms

Community Pharmacy England has today released a national report confirming the severe impact of the worsening medicines supply situation on patients and community pharmacies across England.

The Pharmacy Pressures Survey 2024: Medicines Supply Report sets out what pharmacy owners and their teams have told us about just how critical the situation has become. The report, which is being shared with national media, MPs and other pharmacy advocates this week, is based on views shared by the owners of over 6,100 pharmacy premises in England and 2,000 pharmacy team members in our recent Pressures Survey.

Issues with medicines supply, drug shortages and market instability are now at the worst that pharmacies have ever seen, and these issues have become the highest point of concern for many across the sector.

Our report shows that worsening medicine supply problems are now affecting pharmacy teams and patients on a daily basis. Pharmacies across the sector are reporting that medicine supply issues are worse than this time last year, with 99% of pharmacy team staff encountering them at least weekly, and 72% now facing multiple issues a day. Worryingly, 79% of pharmacy team members surveyed report that patient health is being put at risk due to medicine supply issues.

Concerningly, 97% of pharmacy team members reported patient frustration and 84% say they have experienced aggression from patients because of medicine supply issues.

Read the Medicines Supply Report

Note: this is the first in a series of reports that are being developed about the findings of the 2024 Pharmacy Pressures Survey. In the coming months we will be using our findings to highlight the full range of severe challenges impacting on the community pharmacy sector.

Today, the findings of our Medicines Supply Report appeared in The Guardian, Independent, Sky News and The Sun, as well as a range of local and regional news publications. We are also sharing the results with MPs, Peers, think tanks, patient groups and other pharmacy advocates. For support with media interviews, please contact: comms.team@cpe.org.uk

Resources for pharmacies

Pharmacy owners can help raise awareness of this issue using our new resources:

Further support on this topic is available on our Medicines Supply and Price Concessions Resources webpage.

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy England, said:

“As these survey findings highlight, the medicine supply challenges are beyond critical. For pharmacies, ensuring everyone can access the medicines they need has become an ongoing battle, putting immense pressures on pharmacy teams and businesses. They are doing everything that they can to find solutions for all their patients, but powerless as they are to resolve national and even global supply issues, they are being forced to operate with one hand tied behind their back.

Our findings make distressing reading, and they should be ringing alarm bells for anybody interested in protecting the health and wellbeing of local communities and the public. We’ve been warning for some time that these issues must be resolved, and this evidence provides yet another stark warning which must not be ignored.”

Zoe Long, Director of Communications, Corporate and Public Affairs at Community Pharmacy England, said:

“This year’s Pressures Survey results make for difficult reading, showing once again the deep distress that community pharmacies are in. Whilst this confirms what everyone working in community pharmacy already knows, having this important evidence will support our campaigning and influencing work: a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to share their experiences with us.

We are sharing our findings with Government and the NHS, as well as with the national media and politicians. Further reports showing the reality of the wide range of challenges that pharmacy owners and their teams are battling with every day will follow, to keep the subject of pharmacy pressures high on the public agenda. We have developed a range of resources to help everyone in the sector to highlight these worrying findings, and hope many of you may be able to do so.”

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