Falkirk pharmacist’s mercy dash through blizzard

A typical street scene from Falkirk yesterday, with residents starting  to make an impact on the snow.  Outlying villages often weren't so lucky.  Picture, Michael Gillen.
A typical street scene from Falkirk yesterday, with residents starting to make an impact on the snow. Outlying villages often weren't so lucky. Picture, Michael Gillen.

A Falkirk pharmacy carried out vital deliveries on foot in blizzard conditions to make sure people who rely on medication were safe.

Right Medicine Pharmacy managing director Noel Wicks said doctors couldn’t get in to “quite a few villages” and in many places the pharmacy was the only resource available.

He said: “We had a lot of people who weren’t able to get their repeat prescriptions, So we went into our urgent supply systems and helped them out.

“We had a lot of vulnerable patients in their home, and people who were really unwell asking us for help. “We were getting calls from GPs working from home to deliver vital medication.”

He was involved in the delivery of some strong painkillers to a woman suffering chronic stomach pain.

“This young lady had really young children with her and she was in severe pain”, he said.

“The doctors prescribed her a controlled drug and we were able get the car close enough to her house and then we could walk through the blizzard, 500 metres, to get to her front door.

“This doctor in question was working from home and she phoned us desperate to get some help to the lady, who was in tremendous discomfort.

“She couldn’t have made it down to the pharmacy along with her two children in a walker”.

National Pharmacy Associaion chairman Ian Strachan said: “If you are stuck at home and you need your medicine that’s an emergency, and pharmacy teams are responding to these emergencies on countless occasions.

“We are being inundated with stories of people literally lacing up their boots and getting out there to make sure people are getting their medicines.

“When poorly or vulnerable people miss their medication it can be life threatening but often it means they can deteriorate quickly and need urgent GP or hospital care, when these services are already over stretched.

“But even those who are just a little bit under the weather can take comfort that there is likely to be a community pharmacy open, and ready to give expert clinical advice, within relatively easy reach.”

Earlier this week we reported how Hallglen Pharmacy manager Bryan McCarthy was joined by close friend James Auld, a former Meeks Road Surgery doctor, as he travelled from door to door distributing medication on foot.

Employees also made sure the facility’s doors were open from 9am to serve the few who were able to make the journey.

Elly McCarthy, shop assistant at Hallglen Pharmacy, said: “We opened our doors to the patients at 9am and Bryan (McCarthy, pharmacy manager) managed to get up to the houses.

“He’s very good friends with Dr Auld who was an absolute trooper and came out with his sticks and snow stuff and we delivered round about Hallglen by foot.

Pharmacies are contracted to deliver NHS services, including dispensing prescriptions, but the delivery service most provide is not reimbursed by the government.