In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Minister has today announced new arrangements to ensure people who are shielding or self-isolating can continue to get their prescription medicines in partnership with the National Pharmacy Association, Wales’ third sector organisations and Royal Mail.
The arrangements will support community pharmacies and dispensing doctors to allocate deliveries to volunteer drivers where people do not have family, friends or neighbours who can collect their prescriptions for them. Working with the National Pharmacy Association, Pro Delivery Manager, a web-based delivery tracking system developed in Wales to support the deliveries of prescriptions, will be made available to pharmacies, dispensing doctors and volunteers.
The volunteers have been recruited directly by the Welsh Government, alongside the British Red Cross, and include individuals from the pharmaceutical industry, optometry practices and Welsh Government employees. Each volunteer has been matched to a participating community pharmacy or dispensing doctor to offer additional medicines deliveries. A further recruitment drive will be launched with support from Community Voluntary Councils across Wales.
Over 650 community pharmacies in Wales and 18 dispensing doctors have signed up to the new scheme, with over 400 volunteers already recruited.
Supporting the national volunteer prescription delivery scheme, Royal Mail is poised to offer a commercial service delivering items via its ‘Tracked 24’ service. This track and trace delivery service will see postmen and postwomen collecting prescription medicines from local pharmacies and dispensing doctors and delivering to patients the next day. This service will run Monday to Saturday and pharmacies will be given access to the Royal Mail ‘Click and Drop’ system, enabling them to track prescriptions in the delivery system.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, said:
Community pharmacies are on the front line in our fight against Covid-19, working extremely hard to ensure people still receive their prescribed medicines. The scheme announced today will provide additional capacity for community pharmacies and dispensing doctors to ensure the health and wellbeing of those shielding continues to be supported.
I am particularly pleased to see how the skills and expertise of organisations from the private, public and third sector have been brought together to make this a success and it is testament to these sectors who are going above and beyond in these unprecedented times. I am also pleased that Wales is advising other administrations on how they too can support their most vulnerable citizens.
A huge thank you to everyone involved in supporting these new arrangements and in particular to the volunteers who are playing a vital role within their communities across Wales.
Raj Aggarwal, NPA board member for Wales, said:
We are delighted to have been able to work with the Welsh Government, to provide a solution that help brings volunteers into play and maintain patient safety. Pro Delivery Manager is a tried-and-tested product that brings value to any community pharmacy operation, and it’s great that some of the most vulnerable people in Wales will now benefit from it. It’s good to see Wales leading the way”.