Pharmacy support during COVID and beyond
30th November 2022
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals currently have 40 volunteers working in the pharmacy team. Pharmacy runner volunteers deliver around 2,000 medications each month to wards and departments across three hospitals. At Northern General Hospital, volunteers work together to split the hospital areas between themselves, making sure time is used as efficiently as possible for fast deliveries. At Weston Park Hospital, volunteers act in a fast and timely manner to make sure Chemotherapy medications are delivered to staff and volunteers working with patients in the day case unit. At Royal Hallamshire Hospital, volunteers ensure a detailed handover between themselves for each round of deliveries, making sure no areas are missed and easing pressure on staff.
The volunteers work as a team which eases pressure on busy departments, as a result wards and departments get their medication orders quicker allowing these to be administered to patients when needed. With discharge deliveries this can also help speed up the process and get patients home sooner freeing beds in high pressure areas. Volunteers work together to arrange cover and times between themselves to organise deliveries and rounds. When not delivering medications volunteers can help with prepping bags, unpacking supplies, admin assistance and other department support tasks.
Pharmacy volunteers have training when starting their role to help them keep records in-line with the Trust’s policies and have extra guidance on hospital processes during their inductions. Volunteers in Sheffield Teaching Hospital pharmacies are unseen by patients but have a large positive effect on their treatment and stay in hospital. During COVID-19 lock down, pharmacy volunteers were classed as key workers and came onto site each day to help support the pandemic effort as much as they could. All of the hospital sites present unique challenges to navigate around. During the course of a shift a Pharmacy Volunteer can walk over six miles!
Nominated for the 2022 Outstanding Volunteering Team of the Year category
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