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Pharmacist delivers emergency medicines in Whaley Bridge evacuation

The Well branch on Market Street has been closed since August 1 (Credit: © 2019 Google, image capture: June 2016)
The Well branch on Market Street has been closed since August 1 (Credit: © 2019 Google, image capture: June 2016)

A Well pharmacy manager has been working with police to deliver medicines to vulnerable patients affected by the evacuation of a Derbyshire town at risk of flooding.

More than 1,500 residents of the town of Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, were evacuated from their homes last Thursday (August 1), due to the risk of the local Toddbrook Reservoir breaching and flooding the surrounding areas.

As the situation worsened overnight, NHS England activated the community pharmacy emergency supply protocol to allow patients to visit pharmacies nearby to obtain emergency medicines without having to visit their GP first.

NHS England told C+D that there are four pharmacies providing the emergency service within a three-mile radius of Whaley Bridge, and a number of others further afield.

Pharmacist braves flood risk

The Well pharmacy in the town has been closed since the evacuation notice was given. However, branch manager Raj Modi has been working with police to ensure the most vulnerable patients are still able to access their medicines.

Mr Modi has organised escorted visits to the pharmacy “to identify those patients who are most vulnerable and in need of urgent medication”, Well central operations manager Ade Titiloye told C+D this morning (August 5).

He has also been personally delivering medicines to patients outside of the evacuation zone and arranging for any undelivered items to be collected by patients at a local GP surgery, Mr Titiloye explained.

“He has contacted all patients where delivery has not been possible and left his personal contact details with all the local GP surgeries and local pharmacies, as well as giving it to local radio stations and putting it on community social media pages so that concerned residents could get in touch with him.”

A local GP posted a personal thanks to Mr Modi on Twitter, and both Derbyshire local pharmaceutical committee and Derbyshire County Council tweeted to inform residents of alternate pharmacies they can visit to collect medicines.

Mr Modi's team have been working in neighbouring Well pharmacies to “deal with urgent patient queries” and prepare medicines for the coming week, Mr Titiloye said.

Other pharmacies called to action

Tideswell Pharmacy in nearby Buxton is one pharmacy that NHS England is directing Whaley Bridge residents to for emergency medicines.

Pharmacy manager Simon Lam told C+D that NHS England called him on Friday (August 2) evening to ask if he was happy to take part in the emergency protocol.

He posted the notice on the pharmacy’s social media to inform residents, and has been answering questions from concerned patients over the weekend.

Since then, the pharmacy has had “a few” extra patients visit, Mr Lam told C+D.

A Twitter account called “Whaley Bridge Live Updates” has also been informing residents of the emergency medicines supply protocol, including an explanation that they can “go straight to the pharmacy for medications”, instead of needing to see their GP.

Twitter reaction
How you ever had to supply medicines during an emergency?

RS Pharmacist, Primary care pharmacist

Well done to Mr Modi & his team, one day this will be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster and i am sure Mr Modi will play himself. On a more serious note, I hope Mr Titiloye was able to relax the weekly targets of NMS, Mur, OTC target etc...

A LOCUM, Community pharmacist

well done raj for going that extra mile, wonder if the gp did as well, no puns intended !

Tired Manager, Community pharmacist

Well done - a great example of what us lot are prepared to do when called upon. I hope for your sake there aren’t too many “missed target” emails/conference calls to answer too when it reopens. In all seriousness though, I hope you and your team get the recognition you deserve

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Well done all. Keep up the good work and spread the news/ shout out the kind of work we Pharmacists are prepared to do.

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