Dispensing on ice – how one community pharmacy battled through the weather

Community pharmacies across the UK have been making sure patients get their medicines, despite the weather, often making deliveries by foot. Olivier Picard, pharmacist and manager at Newdays Pharmacy in Reading looks back at his week.

When we knew the snow was on its way we tried to deliver prescriptions early, to patients we thought would be needing them. These were our regulars and that was, in a way, easy and sensible planning. I asked our delivery driver to work extra hours to deliver prescriptions for free to patients and cope with the demand. This was only in an attempt to prevent people venturing out and risking falls on icy pavements. However, I slightly under estimated the demand that would follow! On Thursday, the first 10 phone calls to the pharmacy were cries for help from local residents who were about to run out of medication and unable or unwilling to risk going outside. Still wondering how to resolve this, at 9am, the pharmacy delivery driver, Mark Phillips, called the shop and asked if there were any urgent deliveries… and so he came to the rescue. Upon his return to the pharmacy, he was asked to go out three more times! Eventually, the snow started to fall heavier and the roads became more and more dangerous and so the decision was taken to send him home. During his time on the road, Mark brought bins in from the road for elderly residents he was delivering to, he took milk to patients to whom he was delivering (because the milkman was unable to do so) and delivered almost 25 prescriptions.…