RESIDENTS are queuing for as long as three hours to pick up prescriptions as a pharmacy struggles to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Huge queues have been forming outside the Boots pharmacy, in Tamarisk Way, Greenstead, Colchester, since the Government brought in lockdown measures.

Some residents have reported waiting up to three hours to pick up essential items, with queues stretching for hundreds of metres as residents practise social distancing measures whilst waiting.

Greenstead ward councillor Tim Young said the situation was “chaotic and putting people at risk”.

He said he wants to see alternative arrangements made utilising the community hub and volunteers.

Mr Young said: “The queue was snaking back from the pharmacy, past the library and backing round past the rear of the housing office.

“I was there at the centre picking up food parcels from the Greenstead Foodbank to deliver to vulnerable residents but I thought it best to check out the situation at the pharmacy as it had been brought to my attention.

“I spoke to the man at the front of the queue who said he’d been waiting for well over two hours and another person said it had been three hours the other day.”

He added: “I fear some patients will not be able to obtain their much-needed medication if this continues.”

Boots has apologised for the inconvenience to customers but said it had to introduce new safety measures.

A spokesman said: “Our pharmacies are facing unprecedented challenges at the moment so to make sure we can keep our customers and colleagues safe we are following social distancing guidelines.

“In small stores this means they may only be able to let a small number of customers into the store at any one time.”

The spokesman said the firm is working to increase delivery capacity and is asking customers to plan ahead if possible.

He added: “We would like to thank customers for their patience and support for our colleagues who are working so hard to help our customers get their prescriptions”