A pharmacy industry body has warned of delivery delays for medicines in some parts of the country but says it is managing the supply situation to ensure no disruption to patients and customers.

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) said a combination of the fuel delivery squeeze and wider delivery driver shortage were to blame for the delays.

The organisation, which represents the interests of more than 3,000 pharmacies, called on the government to ensure a robust contingency plan was in place to prevent any deterioration in the supply chain disruption.

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It stressed there was no shortage of products because pharmacists were managing supplies to maintain continuity across the network.

AIMp chief executive Leyla Hannbeck said: “Pharmacists and their teams have been working very hard to ensure patients have access to their medicines during the current crisis.

“While the situation with fuel crisis has started to improve, we are aware that some geographical areas continue to be affected by delays to deliveries of medicines.

“The impact on workload and stress levels for everyone across the supply chain, including in pharmacies, remains considerable.

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“We are watching the situation with delivery drivers and fuel crisis very closely and are liaising with the government and asking the government to ensure robust contingency plans and strategy are in place to ensure medicines supply is not affected and that we can continue caring for our patients.”

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The body released its statement as ministers admitted the economy faced a tough winter ahead with the core Christmas season expected to be hit by the effects of global supply chain woes including the shortage of workers in key areas, especially HGV drivers.

The problem, which is Europe-wide and mainly a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted a government climbdown last month when it gave in to post-Brexit demands for EU drivers to be allowed to work in the UK.

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However, the haulage industry and businesses argued its temporary visa scheme fell short of what was needed.

The fuel delivery crisis – which prompted panic-buying in many areas – now appears to be confined to parts of southern and eastern England.

The army, on Monday, began assisting efforts to keep forecourts stocked and motorists moving.