Prescription delivery scheme for vulnerable local people from Healthwatch Reading

Primary interest
Healthwatch Reading have launched a Reading Prescription Delivery Scheme to ensure medicines can be delivered to isolated and vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis

Their DBS-checked staff, assisted by vetted volunteers, will deliver to households if people are:

  • in the 1.5m group of people who have received a text or letter from the NHS telling them to stay home for 12 weeks, and if they have no friends or family to get prescriptions for them
  • self-isolating because of coronavirus symptoms and have no-one else to get prescriptions
  • vulnerable in any other way – they will assess on a case-by-case basis.

The new scheme made its first delivery on 26 March, following government social distancing guidelines and ensuring that someone from the household had taken the medicines inside. Mandeep Kaur Bains, chief executive, said Healthwatch Reading and its advocacy service Reading Voice had suspended much of its usual work, but wanted to redeploy its staff to support vulnerable people and assist the NHS as it faced increasing pressure.

This new service offers the reassurance of vetted staff to get essential medicines to the most vulnerable people in our town and will hopefully go some way to easing pressure on front line NHS pharmacy services.

The scheme has support from Thames Valley Pharmacy, which represents local pharmacies. The service formally starts on Monday 30 March. Healthwatch Reading are contacting all pharmacies in Reading to offer deliveries to people they identify as vulnerable, and then GP surgeries. They will also be working with the One Reading Community Hub run by Reading Borough Council and Reading Voluntary Action (RVA) to take referrals. They will then look at opening up the service to take direct requests from the general public.

  • Carl Borges will oversee the delivery scheme. He is Healthwatch Reading’s advocacy services manager, running Reading Voice, which provides statutory advocacy for people with various needs including older age, learning disabilities, mental health and safeguarding. He is DBS-checked and a former police officer.
  • Pat Bunch will support the delivery service by liaising with pharmacies, GP surgeries and volunteers and making deliveries. Pat is a Healthwatch Reading officer and advocate who is DBS-checked and previously worked as a nurse.
  • Reading Voluntary Action has helped identify DBS-checked volunteers who are aged under 70, with no underlying health conditions and with driving licences. They will work in different zones within Reading to deliver to as many people as possible in each area either by car, or on foot in more urban areas.
Contact the Healthwatch Reading Prescription Delivery Scheme

Pharmacies, GP surgeries, One Reading Community Hub and local charities can refer by:

  • Email This email is monitored daily, Monday to Friday.
  • Leave a voice message on 0118 937 2295 with your name and contact number. Voicemail is checked three times daily, Monday to Friday.