A Kells based councillor says volunteer medicine delivery teams are doing a vital job during the COVID emergency.
Councillor William McCaughey manages his family pharmacy business in the village of Kells and said the initiative has proven successful.
Teams of willing volunteers are stepping up to help community pharmacies across Mid and East Antrim deliver medicines to people self-isolating on medical grounds during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Across Northern Ireland, over 170 pharmacies have signed up to a scheme being overseen by the Community Health and Development Network (CHDN).
The initiative has been set up to co-ordinate the safe delivery of medication to people who are unable to collect it themselves, and to assist with queue management within the pharmacy setting.
Community groups who meet the required criteria can register with CDHN and will be matched with pharmacies for either or both of these functions.
Seven local pharmacies in the Mid and East Antrim area have signed up to the scheme, with 24 volunteer drivers in place to ensure medications are safely delivered to those patients who require the service.
CouncillorMcCaughey said: “There is a raft of volunteers in Kells working alongside Mid and East Antrim Agewell Partnership, who are co-ordinating our delivery service, and it has been working very well since the beginning of this crisis.
“When the advice was published for the over-70’s and those with Coronavirus symptoms or various health conditions to self-isolate, we were able to provide delivery or collection of their prescriptions thanks to those volunteers who had offered to help.
“It has been a very popular service and I expect it to continue to be needed as we move through this pandemic and if we do experience a second wave of Coronavirus.
“It is still vital that people with conditions such as Diabetes and respiratory issues, and those in the vulnerable group, continue to shield in their homes even though we are, thankfully, seeing the number of cases start to fall.”
Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership is working to expand the service to support all community pharmacies in the borough, and will be supported in those efforts by the Council’s Community Planning team.
Community groups who meet the required criteria can register with CDHN and will be matched with pharmacies for either or oth of these functions.
This support is intended to help community pharmacy only during this time of crisis and it is anticipated that all support will be stood down when the crisis is over.
A spokesperson for MEAAP said:
“We are delighted to be working alongside the Community Development & Health Network (CDHN) as the lead voluntary/community group within the Mid and East Antrim area and so far have assisted seven Community Pharmacies by coordinating 24 volunteer drivers to deliver medications on their behalf and we are working to expand this to support all Community Pharmacies in the area.
“Here at the Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP), we cover the Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus areas and have worked very closely with statutory agencies in the past six years to work strategically to support our community.”