When the government ordered 1.5m people to shield at home at the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, residents started contacting us about problems in getting repeat or urgent medication.
Many of them were isolated with no family living nearby and told us their calls to pharmacies were going unanswered. They didn’t want to risk catching coronavirus by venturing out to wait in long queues, but at the time, a national NHS volunteer schemes was weeks away from being launched.
Within seven days of first hearing of people’s distress, we launched a local prescription delivery scheme, taking referrals from:
- the public
- local charities
- GP surgeries, and
- Reading Borough Council.
"I just wanted you to know how much this delivery has eased my worry about my prescription. I will always be grateful for people like you.”
"Thank you is not enough to express my appreciation for the effort and trouble u and everyone have taken to deliver my medication.”
"Thank you for supporting us and the community at this rather weird and uncertain time, It means a lot to us and the patients you are assisting."
Our DBS-checked staff and volunteers travelled by bike, car and on foot all over the borough to get to 1,100 people over 12 weeks. We were able to reach a wide variety of people, including:
- elderly people (including four 100-year-olds)
- discharged hospital patients
- terminally ill people,
- community mental health patients
- women who’d just had babies, and
- sight and hearing-impaired people.
We have since returned to our ‘normal’ duties but still support local people with the pandemic through our helpline and monthly newsletters, advising people all about vaccination and staying safe.