Carers Week: Organisations are working together to improve unpaid carers’ access to medication

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Carers Trust has developed a suite of resources to support unpaid carers and pharmacy teams in order to improve access to essential medicine.

Working in partnership with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), the organisations are hoping to improve the issues being faced by unpaid carers across the UK.

PRESSURE

In recent weeks, unpaid carers have expressed a growing range of pressures, including a struggle to access medication or arrange medicine delivery slots or challenges coping with queues that adhered to the social distancing measures.

Similarly, more young carers are being tuned away from pharmacies causing distress to families where the only person able to collect prescriptions is a young carer.

“Network Partners of Carers Trust, local charities that work directly with unpaid carers, have reported to us that accessing medicines has caused stress and concern for many unpaid carers over the past few weeks,” explained Kathryn Hill, director of England.

“At a time where unpaid carers are under significant emotional, physical and financial pressure it is important that they do not face additional hurdles to access the medicines that they, or their loved ones, rely on.”

ADAPT

Pharmacy teams have had to adapt quickly to ensure that people can continue to benefit from community pharmacy during the pandemic. The necessary changes that have been made have impacted on all who attend community pharmacy, including unpaid carers.

The Carers Trust, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and PSNC have collaborated to ensure pharmacists across England are aware of the simple changes that can be made to improve the experience of carers when obtaining medication.

From allowing two people in the store when a carer has no choice but to take the person they care for with them; considering prioritising unpaid carers of vulnerable/shielding delivery slots; and recognising that some households may rely on a young carer.

“Carers make an enormous contribution and the past few months have shown just how much we depend on them,” added Prof Claire Anderson, Chair of the RPS in England.

“Vulnerable people will need on-going support to cope with COVID-19 for the longer-term. Pharmacies, in the heart of their communities, will continue to help, providing expert health advice and access to the medicines carers and their families need.”

What more could be done to support unpaid carers? This Carers Week 2020, share your thoughts with the #EnableCommunity on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.