The volunteer medicine delivery service in Northern Ireland is being stopped at the end of August. Officials in the Province have said that now that there is no longer a requirement for certain groups to shield there is, therefore, a diminished need for the service.
The volunteer-led service introduced to support people who were shielding during the lockdown in Northern Ireland over recent months completed over 50,000 deliveries to patients.
In a letter to stakeholders in Northern Ireland Assistant Director of Integrated Care and Head of Pharmacy and Medicines Management Joe Brogan commented:
“As part of the support for shielded people who were advised to isolate, HSCB had worked with the Community Pharmacies and the Community Development Health Network to put in place a volunteer delivery service for patient’s medicines. This arrangement has been operational for some months now and it is good to report that those pharmacies working with the volunteer groups to deliver medicines have completed over 50,000 deliveries to patients.
“As the Minister of Health has now relaxed the directions regarding shielding, the need to continue to utilise community volunteers is diminishing. Many volunteers are also returning to employed roles.
“The current arrangement with Community Pharmacies and the Community Volunteers is, therefore, being stood down on 31st August 2020.
“HSCB is in consultation with CPNI to introduce a newly commissioned service specification for the collection and delivery of medications to identified patients by Community Pharmacies, from 1st September 2020. This specification is currently being developed; this will also provide an option for the use of community volunteers where this is appropriate.
“The HSCB acknowledges the valued role that Community Pharmacies and Community Volunteers have provided to date during the Covid-19 emergency.
“Details on the commissioned service will follow as soon as they are finalised.”
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