Pharmacists must be given access to an online portal through which healthcare and social care professionals can order personal protective equipment (PPE), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.
The ‘PPE Portal’ was launched as part of the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC’s) PPE plan on 10 April 2020. It was piloted “with an initial group of primary care providers” who could submit requests for PPE through the system and have them shipped directly through Royal Mail.
The government announced on 26 May 2020 that the portal was now being rolled out nationally with GPs and small care homes able to register in the week following the announcement.
The DHSC said that it was “focusing on small care providers because [its] data show that, although they account for half of all care provision, they seem to be less likely to be registered with wholesalers”.
However, Claire Anderson, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said that it was “really disappointing to see pharmacy being left behind in this phase of the rollout”.
“Pharmacies are one of the last places keeping their doors open to the public without an appointment and yet, are seemingly an afterthought when it comes to sourcing PPE for staff,” she said.
Anderson added that the RPS had “raised this repeatedly with the government and have called for pharmacy to urgently be included in the PPE Portal”.
The Pharmaceutical Journal has approached the DHSC for comment.