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The Covid diaries Part II


The Covid diaries Part II

 By Lindsey Fairbrother

Now I am back, I am hearing about so many other people either with Covid or isolating. Of course, they want our help, they want deliveries, but there are no payments for those not on the shielded list.

PSNC, like Grange Hill’s Zammo, wants us to ‘just say no’ to free stuff and I understand why, but really, can you, in all conscience, tell those you have served for the last 10 years that it is ‘just tough’? I’m not a charity, but I am a human being, so of course I am going to help. I work in a community; we are not faceless beings on the end of a phone – we are part of the infrastructure.

Compared to Covid one, this time it’s different. It’s everywhere and affecting everyone. Three staff members sent for tests in the past two weeks. Fellow pharmacies struggling as locums are off. Me, going in on my day off last week for the same reason. Of course, we are not alone, healthcare providers and businesses everywhere are struggling. We are open every day, we are not ‘by appointment’ or behind closed doors. But maybe it is time to ‘just say no’.

Of course, as a business it is suicide to do things for free. So why is it that pharmacists struggle with this concept? We don’t have a monopoly on generating customer goodwill.

It’s not just deliveries – there’s blister packs. I know that many pharmacies stopped doing these when Covid struck, due to the workload issue.
I agree they are not ideal because it is difficult to identify those six white tablets without the aid of patient information leaflets on computer (and which patient/carer has access to that?).

But when I get one of my traveller community discharged from hospital, who cannot read, and does not understand what each tablet is for, let alone how and when to take them, I cannot deny the outcome of my DDA assessment, which points me down the rabbit hole of MDS. Large font letters won’t help. Self-filling a purchased kit would be impossible.

So, I get it: strengthen our negotiating position by refusing things for free. But please, PSNC, RPS, GPhC, NPA, etc – whoever you are – can you strengthen and support your pharmacists? So that we can still ensure the safety of our patients when we do refuse, and strengthen our character to enable us to do so.

Lindsey Fairbrother’s Goodlife Pharmacy is in Hatton, Derbyshire

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