Collaboration brings community benefit

Referrals for medication collection is a win-win for Darlington pharmacy and charity

At the beginning of the pandemic, Rowlands Pharmacy at Cardinal Gardens were concerned that their vulnerable patients might not be able to receive their medication on time without having to leave their homes and risking catching the virus.

This is how they found out about Darlington Support, a local charity that offers a personal free service through local teams of volunteers across all areas of Darlington. The collaboration has since gone from strength to strength, which means that more vulnerable residents receive the prescriptions that they need without having to leave their homes.

Cardinal Gardens Pharmacy manager, Penzy Heath, said: "The volunteers have done a wonderful job helping the vulnerable patients of our pharmacy who really appreciate the service that Darlington Support offers.

While the NHS had launched a national scheme to provide prescription collection through a central system, we found that the service of Darlington Support is more personal.

Having had a positive experience with the compassionate volunteers at the start of the pandemic, we have since been giving the residents who could not leave their homes the phone number of Darlington Support to ask for their medications to be collected."

Darlington Support founders Kimberley Scott and George Jabbour said: "It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Penzy and the rest of the team at Rowlands Pharmacy. Many of Darlington Support volunteers have collected hundreds of prescriptions and have had no problems or issues at all thanks to the diligence of the pharmacists.

We are grateful to them for giving our phone number to their patients as some of the residents require assistance with other services, such as shopping or arranging transport to receive their Covid vaccine, which we are delighted to help with.

As we entered into the third national lockdown, we have witnessed a surge in the number of requests for medication collection. Also, the weather and snow in recent weeks didn't help either. So it is more important than ever for all of us to work together to support our community."

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