A lack of pharmacists in an area of Oxfordshire is causing havoc for people who need prescriptions.

Pharmacist jobs are currently listed on the Government’s healthcare and education shortage occupations list for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Retired civil servant Clarke Gregory, who lives in Witney, says the shortages are resulting in week-long waits and making it “increasingly difficult” for elderly people to pick up their medication.

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He feels it is “archaic” and “crazy” that if a pharmacist is not present the staff are not allowed to hand out prescriptions to patients.

Witney Gazette: File image of a pharmacist stocking medication. Picture: PA Images File image of a pharmacist stocking medication. Picture: PA Images

The 81-year old has written to his local MP Robert Courts, who represents Witney and West Oxfordshire, about the issue because he feels the waits are “simply too much”.

He said: “At times I feel it is quite worrying because I go in and I am not quite sure if I am going to get my prescription.

“I find it terrible that you can not be sure when you are going to get your prescription.”

Mr Gregory, who regularly uses Boots in the town centre, says the issue is effecting many of the pharmacies across Witney, including the Lloyds Pharmacy. 

He said: “In this day and age most prescriptions are done automatically through the computer so the pharmacist does not need to speak to anybody. The whole thing is getting out of control.

“So many people are having to go in and out to see if it is ready. Of course, if you are going in and trying to get it made up then the pharmacist cannot be making up others,” he added.  

Witney Gazette: The issues are impacting many pharmacies in Witney, Mr Gregory says. Picture: PA Images The issues are impacting many pharmacies in Witney, Mr Gregory says. Picture: PA Images

Details of the issue have also been shared by Mr Gregory on Nextdoor, an app for neighbourhoods to share information and local tips.

Mr Gregory had dozens of hits on the post and comments on the post with people sharing their own frustrations.

He added: “If you look on Nextdoor you will see people talking about it from North Leigh and Ducklington, so I think it is even greater than Witney because there just seems a shortage of pharmacists.

A spokesperson for Boots said: “Like other businesses, we are seeing high rates of COVID-related team member absence. This means some of our stores may feel busier than usual.

“Our teams are working very hard to keep stores open, minimise disruption for customers and provide the best possible service. We apologise to customers who have been affected and thank them for bearing with us and being kind to our team members at this time.”

Robert Courts said: "I am aware of concerns that have been raised about the level of service being offered by Lloyds Pharmacy on Welch Way. I am working with my constituent to investigate the matter and am currently awaiting a formal response from Lloyds Pharmacy to the issues I have raised."


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