Staff in Isle of Wight chemists are facing abuse from patients due to the shortage of pharmacists.
Some people have been going without essential medication for diabetes, epilepsy and other conditions, a local health watchdog has warned, because their local pharmacy has closed for the day at short notice.
An incident in Ventnor last Thursday saw Boots pharmacy, on the High Street, lock its doors with customers still inside, due to abuse the staff were receiving.
Issues were highlighted at a meeting of the IW Association of Local Councils, which heard how Islanders were waiting in hour-long queues for prescriptions and people were making special trips only to find the chemist closed.
There is also inequality of provision across the Island. Worries were raised about a possible knock-on effect on other medical services.
Problems had not been noted at small, independent pharmacies.
John Graney, of Brading, said a licence for a pharmacist in the town had been refused, and a bus to Ryde to collect a prescription for a parent and two children would cost £15.
Joanna Smith, Healthwatch Isle of Wight manager, said many people had contacted them with negative feedback.
She said: “While we understand there is a shortage of pharmacists, it is unacceptable. People have not been able to take prescribed medication which will impact their health and wellbeing.”
The body has already contacted the Island’s Clinical Commissioning Group to see if GPs can issue prescriptions covering longer time frames, for example, six months instead of one or three.
It has also raised the issues with the local pharmaceutical committee and will be contacting NHS England and Improvement, who commission local pharmacies.
Healthwatch is asking for feedback on Island pharmacies at the moment, good or bad. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 608608 or find out more at healthwatchisleofwight.co.uk.