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.
Due to the situation in Whaley Bridge the Pharmacy Emergency Supply Protocol has been activated - this means residents of Whaley Bridge can visit Tideswell Pharmacy directly to get emergency supplies of medication without visiting their GP Surgery pic.twitter.com/kfS9M0qRU3— Derbyshire LPC (@DerbyshireLPC) August 2, 2019
Residents evacuated from #WhaleyBridge in need of medication are advised to visit Chapel or Disley pharmacies or their nearest alternative to arrange for an emergency supply.— Derbyshire CC (@Derbyshirecc) August 5, 2019
Call Disley Pharmacy on 01663 762048 to speak to a pharmacist @DerbysPolice @HighPeakBC pic.twitter.com/bjDSjxCGkr