Volunteer EDF engineers deliver medicines for LloydsPharmacy


Around 25 volunteer engineers from energy company EDF will start delivering medicines to patients in The South and South West of England on behalf of LloydsPharmacy.


LloydsPharmacy has said that the demand for home delivery of prescriptions has significantly increased over the last few weeks due to COVID-19 and, like other businesses, LloydsPharmacy has also been dealing with higher than average absence rates amongst its employees.


EDF Smart Metering engineers that would normally be installing smart meters have stepped up to help their local communities as non-essential metering appointments been postponed.


The EDF volunteers have been matched to local pharmacies and have received virtual training on how they undertake their new role, the different types of deliveries they will be involved in and – above all – patient and driver safety and how to maintain social distancing.


Head of central operations for LloydsPharmacy, Lucy Robertson, said:


“We are incredibly proud of the work that our frontline pharmacy colleagues are doing to support their communities and provide the vital supply of medicines and advice they need through the pandemic.


“It’s important that we protect the most vulnerable, especially those who are shielded or self-isolating so we are prioritising home delivery of essential medicines for those groups. The EDF engineers are used to visiting people’s homes and therefore already have the appropriate security checks which was an additional factor when setting up this partnership.


“We are very grateful for the help that EDF has given us to make sure people receive their medicines safely and I know our customers will want to say a big thank you to them too.”


Philippe Commaret, managing director for customers at EDF, said:


“EDF is committed to serving our local communities, and this partnership with LloydsPharmacy is the latest in our efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable continue to receive the vital medicines they need during these challenging times. None of this would be possible without our exceptional team of volunteers and I thank them all for going above and beyond to support.”



Minister praises response to volunteer led medicines delivery service


Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann and Northern Ireland Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey have welcomed the ‘excellent response’ to a new volunteer-led scheme delivering medicines to patients.


The scheme is being coordinated by Community Development and Health Network to deliver medication during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Approaches to the delivery of medicines during the pandemic have varied across the UK in recent weeks.


In Scotland, the delivery of medicines to shielded patients has used volunteers but has been Health Board led. The English approach has been to fund an essential and advanced service.


This approach has come in for significant criticism. The safety of using volunteers to deliver medication has been questioned.


Amongst the confusion and in the midst of a fast-moving situation the RPS and the GPhC had to update their joint statement on the use of volunteers to deliver medicines during the pandemic following concerns being raised by healthcare lawyer Andrea James. Speaking after a PIP podcast she suggested that the initial statement could cause a false sense of security regarding the potential issues of vicarious liability with the English services.


Minister Swann said:


“It is vital that those who are unable to leave their home because of Covid-19 continue to get access to their medicines.  Many of us can rely on family members, friends, or local support for help.  However, there are people having to self-isolate who are experiencing difficulties and it is for those people that this service has been introduced.


“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 over 170 pharmacies have signed up to the new scheme and 142 of them have been matched with a community or voluntary sector organisation.”


The Health and Social Care Board is continuing to work closely with the Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) to coordinate volunteer organisations who will provide vital support to community pharmacies.


CDHN Director Joanne Morgan said:


“CDHN have a long history of facilitating community pharmacists and local community organisations to work together to better understand and address health inequalities. We are very proud to witness that partnership ethos continued in this way. I am also particularly encouraged by the joint working between DoH and DfC to support delivery on the ground.”


Minister Hargey said:


“It is thanks to the work coordinated by Community Development Health Network and carried out by the volunteer network, including sporting organisations, that patients will continue to get their medicines.  During this outbreak, we have seen many excellent examples of volunteering in the battle against Covid-19. I believe this delivery scheme to be a great example of voluntary action which is designed to help the most vulnerable members of our community and I applaud the Community Development Health Network, the Health and Social Care Board and the many volunteers in their efforts to achieve this.”