A DoH spokesman said: 'Emergency directions are only invoked as part of a response to a specified illness, such as a flu pandemic, and a change in regulation would be needed before "emergency directions" could be used during the weather crisis.'
However, this has meant that in some areas patients have limited access to medication after local pharmacies closed during the bad weather.
Paul Smith, practice manager at Knoll Surgery, Cheshire, complained to his PCT.
He said: 'The PCT said the two pharmacies that had closed had made arrangements with other pharmacies in the area. However, these are five miles away, which left us in the position of having to turn people away.'