THANK YOU! COMMUNITY PHARMACY
26 May 2020
From a 19-month-old girl, to a Premier League football club, to the British Prime Minister – the country has paid tribute to community pharmacy. People from all walks of life, from all across the UK have been expressing their heartfelt thanks for a vital profession whose members put their lives on the line every day to help deliver the care, support and health and medical aid that is so desperately needed at these times. From public statements and letters, to social media posts and gifts, numerous people and organisations have come forward to thank their local pharmacy and the profession as a whole.
While when windows are thrown open and people stand on their doorsteps applauding every Thursday at 8pm, many are cheering for and thanking community pharmacy. While, on a more sombre note, on 28 April at 11am, a minute’s silence was observed to honour the key workers, including pharmacists, who had lost their lives working for the good of the country during this pandemic.
Among those observing the silence was NPA Chair Andrew Lane, who said: “Today, the nation fell silent in remembrance of healthcare workers who’ve fallen victim to coronavirus. “On behalf of the NPA, I want to pay my respects to those pharmacists and pharmacy team members who have had their lives cut short tragically by this virus. My heart goes out to their families, friends and colleagues.” What follows is just a tiny selection of the many who have said a heartfelt “thank you” to community pharmacy since COVID-19 arrived on these shores.
Here are just a few examples of the countless people who have declared their thanks to the profession publicly since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
THE HEALTH SECRETARY
In a press conference at the end of March, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also thanked pharmacists. “Not just the doctors and nurses who normally get mentioned, but the pharmacists, the paramedics, the managers and all [NHS] staff across the board for their work under pressure during the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. “You are the frontline in this war against this virus, and we all pay tribute to you. You’re going to give your all over the next few weeks and I want you to know that we salute you.”
THE SCOTTISH HEALTH SECRETARY
In April, Jeane Freeman, the Scottish Health Secretary, announced additional funding of £5.5m was to be provided to community pharmacies to help them cope with increased pressures from coronavirus. “I want to thank all community pharmacy teams for their incredible hard work throughout this pandemic. They are doing an invaluable job to ensure people continue to receive vital medicines and care through this period of unprecedented challenge.”
THE SENIOR HEALTH OFFICIALS
Keith Ridge Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at NHS England and Ed Waller, Director for Primary Care Strategy and NHS Contracts at NHS England, released the following statement: “We would like to thank pharmacy teams wholeheartedly for stepping up in a truly professional way to the current demands and severe pressures on them. With GP services increasingly operating digitally, and the announcement by the Prime Minister of new measures to delay the spread of the virus, community pharmacies are now the NHS frontline for our response to COVID-19.”
THE PRIME MINISTER
Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked “wonderful pharmacists” for their work during the COVID-19 outbreak in a video posted on Twitter, just days before he was admitted to hospital suffering from the disease. In the video, posted on March 29, Johnson said “how important it is that our pharmacists are not only dispensing vital medicines but also very often reassurance to the customers they interact with” during this time. He went on to thank “everybody in our NHS”, as well as those in the private sector who “help to keep the country going”. But he stressed that he wanted to single out pharmacists in particular. “Thank you to our wonderful pharmacists for everything that you are doing,” he said.
THE FOOTBALL TEAM
Liverpool FC delivered batches of cookies to more than 300 pharmacies across Merseyside as a thank you for their hard work and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Baked by chefs at Anfield, the white chocolate and raspberry, and double-chocolate cookies were delivered by staff volunteers from the club and LFC Foundation. Matt Parish, LFC Foundation Director, said: “This is just a small token of our appreciation and thanks to pharmacists and pharmacy staff who are working on the frontline daily, away from their families, and being so selfless to help provide essential support. “We hope these treats put a smile on their faces and act as a reminder of our heartfelt thanks.”
THE WELSH HEALTH SECRETARY
Vaughan Gething, Wales Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “Our workers are going above and beyond to care for vulnerable patients every day… Community pharmacies are on the frontline in our fight against COVID-19.”
THE HEALTH MINISTER
Jo Churchill MP, the Under Secretary of State for Prevention Public Health and Primary Care, sent a letter to community pharmacists that said the following: “I want personally to thank you for your commitment to patients, the public and the NHS in these difficult times. I want you to know that all the health ministers are incredibly grateful for all of the work you are doing. We are living through unprecedented times and I recognise that pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and their teams across the country are providing an outstanding response to patients in challenging circumstances. “You are delivering a vital service for patients in the most challenging circumstances and I will continue to support your efforts however I can. Like most people, I visit and talk to pharmacists regularly, meaning that I hear from you directly about how challenging the situation you face truly is. I know that you are all working incredibly hard to keep your communities safe and I want you to know that I fully understand these concerns and am committed to getting you what you need, to do the best for the people you serve.”
THE NORTHERN IRELAND HEALTH MINISTER
Northern Ireland Minister of Health Robin Swann thanked community pharmacists for their dedication in getting medicines to those who need them most. He thanked them while launching a new volunteer-led medicines delivery scheme, which he said had an excellent response from pharmacy. He said: “I am aware that community pharmacies have been working extremely hard to meet the increased demand for home deliveries of medicines within their communities. I am greatly encouraged to report that more than 170 pharmacies have signed up to the new scheme and 142 of them have been matched with a community or voluntary sector organisation.”
Cambridgeshire police have been delivering flowers to pharmacies and shops to thank them for their hard work A donation from Arrington Garden Centre and Cafe made the deliveries possible. A spokesperson from Cambridgeshire police said: “While on patrol this week we’ve had the absolute pleasure of delivering flowers to just a few of the key workers across the south of the county. Thank you all.”
A pharmacist in Liverpool was closing up for the night when a 10-year-old boy he didn’t know came into the shop with some crisps, chocolates, sweets and a poignant note. The note said: “Thank you for everything you are doing for us all in this crazy time. The world keeps going because of people like you. Stay safe you are doing an amazing job. Love, Ethan, age 10.”
Suri is probably the youngest fan of community pharmacy. She lives in London with her parents and is the granddaughter of Nitin Sodha, Managing Director of Knights Pharmacy.
Suri, granddaughter of Nitin Sodha , Managing Director of Knights Pharmacy
THE TWITTER RESPONSE
Just had our monthly meds delivery. In awe of our local community pharmacy who are going above and beyond. Team split in to two, working 7/7, separate drinks areas, fridges kitchen areas. All so we can stay safe and trust that deliveries are safe #StayAtHome @HelenHassell2
I want to give a shout-out to all Britain’s pharmacies. Just been to a local one in Kensington and they’re working flat out due to the closure of many doctor’s surgeries, yet they have dangerously little PPE. Don’t forget them @MattHancock @piersmorgan
Mayberrys Pharmacy, my local pharmacy, is working flat out to supply its local community with prescriptions. Well done to all those putting others before themselves @ellenaki1
My mum works in one and is scarily busy. She is putting herself at risk everyday and the stress she feels is causing her sleepless nights. I can’t see her to comfort her. She is my hero @TheHarre1
My sister was a part-time #Pharmacist but decided to go back full time after surgeries stopped doing face-to-face appointments. She gets abuse daily. I’m terrified she’ll get sick and pass it onto my nieces but she reminds me ‘it’s her job’ and there are more important things. She’s my hero @jasdeep_xo
Huge thanks to all the unsung heroes working in pharmacies up and down the country and working under immense pressure at this time! #covid19UK #pharmacyheroes @TTJ_Ingram
Can’t thank our pharmacy colleagues enough for the hard work they are all doing during this time. They are so busy but still managing to get medications to patients who need them urgently #NHSheroes #pharmacyheroes #COVID-19 #coronavirus #NHSstaff @AGPTrainee1
The people at my pharmacy and my GPs are awesome, making sure I have my meds sorted and always being totally dead on whilst doing so. #NHSheroes #pharmacyheroes @DonnaABlackArt