Ebola: community pharmacy’s role

Ebola: community pharmacy’s role

Please note the messages contained on this page are specifically intended for health professionals.

Current Situation

Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Ebola an international public health emergency in August 2014, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed over 10,000 lives.

While the risk in the UK remains low, Ebola has not gone away. To date, more than 7,000 people have been screened for Ebola at UK ports of entry, with 228 UK Ebola tests carried out in Public Health England (PHE)’s specialist lab.

So we need to be prepared and remain vigilant. It is vitally important that staff continue to follow the established procedure should a suspected case present at a local pharmacy.

Please make sure you are familiar with the Ebola guidance, resources and information for all health professionals.

Click here for more information about the Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.

Action to take

The following steps are recommended:

1. Display Ebola posters provided by Public Health England/NHS England

Public Health England and NHS England have jointly issued pharmacy-specific posters which are currently being distributed to all pharmacies in England. If you have yet to receive copies of these, you can download the posters below.

Poster for the general public

Poster/flyer for pharmacy staff

Public Health Wales has developed bilingual versions of the poster for patients which will be distributed to pharmacies in Wales.

We encourage all community pharmacies to display these posters prominently.

2. Ensure pharmacy staff are well informed

Display the poster/flyer aimed at pharmacy staff (see above)  in an appropriate location, e.g. behind the pharmacy counter. Pharmacy contractors should be confident that all their staff have read the poster and understand how to respond should they encounter a person who they think is displaying symptoms of Ebola.

Pharmacy staff should continue to reassure members of the public that the likelihood of catching Ebola virus disease for people in the UK is considered very low, but health professionals need to be vigilant for Ebola.

3. Make sure you keep up-to-date

Look out for further alerts and guidance from the Government; these will be publicised on this page (and in our news feed) as and when they are issued.

Additional information

Message for pharmacy staff from Professor Sir Bruce Keogh (National Medical Director) and Dr Keith Ridge (Chief Pharmaceutical Officer)

Key facts on Ebola

Ebola Myth Buster

Letter to Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals from Professor Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England (7 October 2014)

Ebola guidance issued by PHE can be accessed from the Ebola virus disease: clinical management and guidance page

Guidance from Public Health Wales

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