The CCA’s members have been on the front line in the fight against coronavirus. Their teams across England, Wales and Scotland have been going above and beyond for the communities they serve. Community pharmacies have maintained valuable face-to-face access to advice and support for patients from the start of the pandemic.
Here are just some of the examples of what #pharmacyheroes working for CCA members have been doing. If you’d like to add your story, we’d love to hear from you. Please email [email protected] with the details.
Individuals going the extra mile
Asda Kirkcaldy Pharmacist Hannah is incredibly devoted to her profession
A service user named Bill was in desperate need of medication, so Hannah jumped in her own car to deliver a nebuliser, steroids, and Salbutamol right to Bill’s door.
Bill explained: “It only took half an hour from my phone call to get the medicine. After taking it, I was immediately able to breathe again.”
As well as making sure Bill got the medicine he needed , when the lead pharmacist in store had to self-isolate, Hannah again rose to the challenge, leading the pharmacy team, meaning no disruption to the essential services they provide.
Hannah’s determination to succeed saw her implement a pharmacy only queue to the Asda Kirkcaldy store, allowing vulnerable customers to get quick access to the pharmacy, collect their prescription and leave promptly, meaning less risk for all customers and a much more manageable flow in the pharmacy.
Her hard work and dedication in this role saw non-urgent prescriptions being turned around in 24 hours compared to similar local services which were working to a 10-day turnaround.
- Adam, a community pharmacist, moved out of his family home for at least 12 weeks so that he can still work on the front line. Find out more about Adam’s story.
- A LloydsPharmacy customer in Manchester had her Dad taken into hospital on Good Friday where he tested positive for Covid-19. He was discharged on the Monday with some changes to his medication that seemed to be affecting his condition. Between the daughter, LloydsPharmacy, the GP and the hospital they managed to get the right information and update his medication which he received by 5:30pm on the Tuesday. The daughter commented that she could only imagine the stresses that everyone working within medicine at this time is going through but that they went that extra mile to support her Dad and help him get over this horrible illness.
- A senior pharmacist in Neurosciences at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust wrote to LloydsPharmacy’s CEO to tell him about one of their pharmacists going above and beyond to help the NHS. King’s have been struggling to discharge patients who are on dosette boxes as community pharmacies deal with staff shortages and increased workload as a result of COVID-19.
They had a patient with dementia who was ready to go home but the regular community pharmacy were unable to facilitate a new box. The delayed discharge would have resulted in her staying in hospital unnecessarily for a further four days.
Lloyds pharmacist Rakesh agreed to facilitate a one off dosette box at short notice after hearing the hospital’s struggles. The King’s College Hospital pharmacist commented that Rakesh exemplified a caring attitude and calm demeanour which made them proud to be a fellow pharmacist. His help allowed the lady to be discharged home, where she was best placed to recover.
The Morrisons Pharmacy Team in Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, have gone above and beyond for their local community. They saw a need for a pharmacy delivery service to be implemented from the very start of the pandemic and acted quickly to get one up and running, well before guidance was issued on the national service. Here was a comment from one customer on the local Facebook page which was very quickly followed by a whole host of other similar posts:
‘Well done to Morrisons. My husband has regular medication for which the prescription is sent to Morrisons automatically. We usually have to call in for it but yesterday after ordering the medication online at the doctors we got a phone call to say that Morrisons would be delivering for us. We didn’t ask for this service, they just did it because of social isolation recommendations. Well done and appreciated the thought.’
They continue to identify shielded and vulnerable patients, ensuring they receive their medication without delay. A huge well done to the whole team!
- Sian Williams-Day is a Dispensary Lead in Wrexham, North Wales. She has gone above and beyond by working when and wherever she is needed, including every day of the Easter weekend. “Our patients are mostly elderly, vulnerable people from a small village and we have found it extremely challenging as many of them are isolating and cannot come into the pharmacy. They are relying on us to help them. I have been delivering to those who are extremely vulnerable after work, when I can, to help with the workload. These are difficult times but with the help of my team, and the wider Rowlands family, we will all make it though.”
- Paul Knapton, Pharmacist Manager, at Northwood branch in Liverpool says: “March was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, but, what has sustained me, is that the majority of patients and customers have been so thankful for us being here. The reason I work in community pharmacy is the patients who come back time and time again. It is so rewarding continuing to serve them through these dark times.”
- Dionne Gee-Pemberton, Pharmacy Assistant at Meden Vale branch in Nottinghamshire, stepped up into a leadership role in her branch to help the team manage the Covid-19 response. She has also been supporting other branches within the region. “The past few weeks have been very challenging. Our pharmacist had to self-isolate so we were working with locums. I stepped up to do overtime. The team has been amazing and worked extra hours to make sure the branch runs smoothly.”
Superdrug Nurses Tracy and Monique have been helping their in store Pharmacy team deliver prescriptions to the vulnerable and elderly. Monique’s team has also been finding creative ways to support patients who are nervous to enter stores at this time, so they can still access the medication they need.
A Well pharmacy team has gathered donations for Walker Gate Park Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne. Their suppliers have donated toiletries to send to the hospital, so the patients being treated there can use them while their relatives are unable to visit or bring them what they need. This care package consists of wipes, shampoo, conditioners, hand wash, soaps, toothpastes, shower gels and much more.
Stepping up and working differently
- Boots has joined forces with NHS 111 to help support thousands more patients every week. Isolating Boots pharmacists are joining a team of dedicated healthcare professionals providing pharmacy advice to patients over the phone, after successful trials with 12 pharmacists last week. Find out more
- Boots staff have retrained to provide Covid drive-through testing, and an engineer who was due to retire in May has continued working to support his colleagues who are exceptionally busy keeping a Boots’ warehouse open. Find out more
- Boots is trialling an online pharmacy and GP consultation service via video. Find out more
- Boots staff talk about their pride in serving the public and desire to help patients in this Times video celebrating London’s everyday coronavirus heroes.
To combat the problem of long queues of patients waiting to pick up their medicines, pharmacist Jill Shields from Rowlands Pharmacy in Dalgety Bay, West Fife introduced a local texting service to notify them when their prescriptions were ready. This eased queues and streamlined the service.
For some, going into a pharmacy to pick up medication isn’t preferred. So, Well have introduced Vending Machines at some of their pharmacies that allows eligible customers to collect prescriptions at their convenience, 24 hours a day, seven day a week.
Like any prescription, the responsible Pharmacist does a complete check before it goes into the machine. The is accessed from inside the pharmacy by the Well team. Then, the customer is sent a unique PIN by text.
The customer can collect at a time that suits them. And during the COVID-19 crisis, this service has been a blessing. If a patient lives alone or are at risk, they can collect their medication during quietest times of the day.
Pauline, a regular user of this essential service said:
“I really like the Well robot. It’s convenient. I like having a message to say that it’s ready because it stops me wondering, and then it makes it easy for me to get my prescription. I can pick it up whenever I want, no queuing in the shop, no contact with other people, and I can pick a time when there aren’t lots of other people around, we just take hand sanitiser with us. It’s very easy to use. It tells you what to do, and if you need to pay then you can pay by card. I think it’s great.”