Healthwatch Reading staff and volunteers have delivered prescriptions to 258 people in our borough since launching a free delivery scheme a month ago.
We launched the scheme to help out people suddenly unable to leave their homes to pick up medicines, due to having to self-isolate with Covid-19 symptoms or because the government had declared them at greater risk of coronavirus and told them to shield at home for 12 weeks.
We have been taking referrals from individuals, the One Reading Community Hub set up the council, local charities and GP surgeries.
This scheme is outside the usual remit of local Healthwatch but we had to suspend our normal activities and wanted to help local people in a practical way.
However, we have been able to use our 'influencing' role to send intelligence about people's access to overstretched pharmacies, to Healthwatch England, who have raised these issues with national NHS leaders.
One problem we've encountered is that people who do not have an exemption from paying for prescriptions, have not always been able to get busy pharmacy staff to take card payments over the phone when someone else is picking up on their behalf and we've raised this with officials.
Contact us about prescription delivery
Call 07786 476 257
Contact the One Reading Community Hub
For other welfare needs such as food parcels, or to volunteer to help:
Call 0808 1894325, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm on Saturday.
Since launching our free prescription delivery scheme to support the community and NHS during the pandemic, we have delivered to around 120 people over nine days. More deliveries are scheduled in coming weeks.
The deliveries have included insulin, antibiotics, blood pressure pills, antidepressants and blood thinners.
Many of the people we are delivering to, have been told to shield themselves at home for 12 weeks and have no family or friends nearby to go to the pharmacy for them. Others are self-isolating, or are too frail to stand in long queues.