Statement from Toby Anderson, McKesson UK CEO:
“As the high demand for pharmacy services continues due to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, we are reviewing and adapting our operational and health and safety policies at LloydsPharmacy on a daily basis to ensure that we are continuing to protect the healthcare teams in our stores and the customers and patients we serve.
We understand that it is a stressful and difficult time for many people across the UK, particularly those who rely on regular medication. I want to assure our customers and patients that we are working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that we’re supporting the medicines needs of our local communities and those who are most vulnerable.
The situation is ever evolving and every day we are adapting our operation to accommodate the new guidelines set out by the Government. This means we must make ongoing operational changes in order to prioritise and adapt and most importantly continue the supply of medicines safely.
Our teams pride themselves on the meaningful conversations and interactions they have with our patients and they enjoy welcoming the local community into store. However, we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory at the moment, where the focus is on social distancing and its vital role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
This means the way we usually interact with our customers has had to temporarily change. We need to ensure people keep two metres apart and that we give our colleagues the time to dispense medicines safely and in a timely way. We are asking customers to be a little more tolerant of waiting times and, at times, this may mean waiting outside the Pharmacy at a distance of 2m from one another. I would like to ask our patients and customers for some understanding during this time of change. In addition, our teams may not be able to spend as much time with you whilst you are in the store as they usually would, we are sorry for that. The reasons are simple; the volumes have increased dramatically, we have some of our own workforce in isolation so a number of the healthcare team are doing the job of two people.
Volumes are not slowing down yet but when they do, this will make things easier for everyone. As soon as we see this change, we will start to move back to a normal service.
We understand that we are delivering a vital healthcare service and our team remains committed to distributing medicines to the people of the UK, so I want to assure the public that the large majority of our LloydsPharmacy stores will remain open. Some changes to our opening hours and also how we are asking customers to wait for their medicines to be dispensed have been put in place from today and these are outlined below.
Things are tough for us all at the moment, but with some understanding and adherence to the government guidance I am sure we can get back to our everyday lives swiftly.
From today (March 25th), the following operational updates will be in place:
- In order to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers, all LloydsPharmacy stores will be operating a strict two-in-two-out policy – meaning that no more than two members of the public will be allowed into store at any one time.
- To further protect staff and customers, our pharmacists and pharmacy staff have all been given face masks and gloves to use to help further prevent the risk of infection.
- To ensure we can continue to deliver medicines swiftly to our patients, we may temporarily have to suspend certain in-store or online services to manage the high demand. Any changes to our full-service offering will be clearly communicated via our website (LloydsPharmacy.com) and on our social media channels.
- In order to enable pharmacy teams to focus on preparing prescriptions for customers, stores will open an hour later than usual, which for many stores will be 10am, and will close for the last hour of the day, which is typically between 5pm-6pm, however, stores with late opening will differ.
- Our Sainsbury’s locations will reflect the Sainsbury’s opening hours but will continue to close between 1pm and 2pm for lunch.
- Our healthcare teams are working tirelessly to deliver much-needed care to their communities. In order to ensure they have a scheduled break, all stores will also close for a lunchbreak, typically between 1pm and 2pm.
- Following the announcement that all pharmacists and pharmacy staff have been classified as ‘Key Workers’ by the Government, we have launched a comprehensive welfare package to support employees during this time. This includes:
- Up to 2 weeks company sick pay for those that are self-isolating and the introduction of a hardship fund, to support those who are most in need of additional support.
- Vulnerable or at-risk colleagues (including those aged over 70, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions) who are self-isolating will receive up to 12 weeks sick pay from their company sick pay entitlement.
- As a result of the increased demands on our business, we have a number of temporary vacancies. In order to fulfil these, in the first instance we are looking to redeploy our own colleagues into these critical roles to support our frontline teams. Once we have moved our current colleagues into these roles, we will be reserving any additional vacancies for the relatives of colleagues who may have been affected by the outbreak and are dealing with redundancies and reduced hours, as where possible, we want to provide them with opportunities for paid work.