WITH MEDICINE shortages increasingly becoming an issue for medical professionals across the country, there are no signs yet that the problem is exacerbated in Shetland due to the fact that the islands are at the end of the line.
Reacting to a report in a national newspaper earlier this week, NHS Shetland confirmed that medicine shortages were “indeed an increasing problem”.
A range of factors are responsible for shortages, such as manufacturing difficulties, while the global demand for medicines is increasing with large price variations between countries.
Director of pharmacy with NHS Shetland Chris Nicolson said that the health board was following an established protocol for meeting these shortages.
“The problem is no better and no worse in Shetland than anywhere else in the UK; at the moment pharmacists and staff in all the pharmacies in are working incredibly hard to get the medicines patients need,” he said.
“The Gilbert Bain Hospital has a dedicated medicines procurement officer who, with the staff in the community pharmacies, spend many hours tracking down stock and working together to help patients.
“It has helped greatly in Shetland that there is no evidence that patients are attempting to stock pile medicines as doing this could exacerbate any local shortages. It is particularly important that people order sensibly as we approach the Christmas period.”
He added: “I have not come across a situation where there is no alternative treatment available, however, anyone experiencing a particular difficulty should speak to their local pharmacist in the first instance.”