The head of a body representing pharmacy staff in Wales has said members have been “verbally abused and spat at” by members of the public during the coronavirus lockdown.

Elen Jones, director of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales, has asked for members of the public to remain “respectful and patient” as staff struggle to keep up with demand for services.

There have even been reports of fights outside pharmacies, she said.

She has taken the body’s concerns to the police in a bid to put an end to the “unacceptable aggression and abuse”.

She said: “I have been shocked to hear of pharmacy teams being verbally abused and even spat at.

“I have also heard of fights starting outside pharmacy premises. This is totally unacceptable behaviour.

“Community pharmacists and their teams are doing everything they possibly can to help in very difficult circumstances.

“They are under significant pressure and they need the help of the public so they can continue to provide vital healthcare support.

“I ask that that anyone who needs to visit a pharmacy remains patient and is respectful to pharmacy staff at this difficult time.”

Pharmacies have changed the way they work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the society has asked for members of the public to familiarise themselves with the new regime..

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales said the new guidelines are to not visit a pharmacy if you or anyone in your household has a virus.

They also recommend planning ahead to order prescriptions, and bringing ID to collect them if you are picking them up for someone else.

Anyone in self isolation should ask family, friends or neighbours to collect prescriptions for them.