We have three great teams of volunteers – the telephone answerers who take your calls, the hub team who collect and sort the meds from the pharmacies, and the cyclist deliverers who deliver to your door. We are very fortunate in having plenty of enthusiastic helpers and currently we’re not looking for any more.
So, how does this all work?
The thing to remember is that we are acting on behalf of you, the patient, not the pharmacy. If you were asking a friend to collect medicine for you, you’d start by making sure there was a good chance the medicine would be at your chosen pharmacy when you wanted your friend to collect. We are like that friend. If you wanted us to collect a repeat prescription you’d start by ordering it (if necessary) from your GP’s surgery and would choose a convenient pharmacy to collect it from. You would expect a few days delay before the prescription was ready. Or you might already know that your medicine will be available from a certain pharmacy at a particular date. Either way, when the medicine is likely to be at the pharmacy you’d phone us up (01865 818351), give us the necessary details such as name, address and date of birth, and then ask us to collect for you. We would then collect your medicine along with any others and, on the same day as collecting it, we’d deliver it to you.
The process in a bit more detail…
We’ve been kindly lent part of a smart private phone system by Paddock IT Solutions at Frilford so, although we have only one phone number (01865 818351), it can be used simultaneously by two or more phone responders who are on a rota to cover the 9-till-4 day. They take your details and enter them into an online form. With the most integrated of the pharmacies like Boots and Jhoots, they’ll see the the requests arriving as the data is entered and can start preparing the prescriptions soon after. The other pharmacies receive the requests either by email or by paper printout once a day. These ones are therefore a bit slower.
Coordinators at the hub office collect the prescriptions and pass them to the logging/sorting/assigning team where each item is meticulously logged. It is then sorted into geographical location and finally assigned in a reasonably-sized bundle to a cyclist with an appropriately-sized backpack.
The cyclists have been organised by the Abingdon Freewheeling cycling group. They each have a time slot in which to pick up the prescriptions and in that way they maintain social distancing. Each will also be following guidance on how to make deliveries: when they arrive at your door they will knock and step back. They’ll ask you if you’re expecting a delivery and will confirm your name and address before leaving the prescription on the ground. They are required to confirm these details and will always attempt redelivery if no one’s home and time allows, rather than leave them on the doorstep.