Clinical Champions: Why I started a wheelchair loaning service in my pharmacy


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25 Aug 2017

Clinical Champion Lindsey Fairbrother, owner of the Goodlife Pharmacy, talks to Kathy Oxtoby about how her wheelchair loaning service puts her business at the heart of a community.

The Pharmacist’s Clinical Champions scheme celebrates the extraordinary work of ordinary pharmacists.

Based in Hatton, South Derbyshire, Good Life Pharmacy is a village community pharmacy owned by pharmacist Lindsey Fairbrother – that also houses a post office run  by her partner – at ‘the heart of the village’ that many patients use daily, she says.

As well as loaning out her pet dog for patients to walk, Ms Fairbrother also provides a wheel chair loaning service for her community to support people with mobility issues.

Improving community mobility

‘This came about because I met a lady who ran her own mobility aids service business locally,’ she recalls. Ms Fairbrother wanted to help.

‘We decided to collaborate – she would lend me items of stock, I would display them, and customers could touch and feel the products before they bought them.’

Rather than having to go to a town centre store and pay for parking to buy mobility products, this was a service on people’s doorsteps at their local pharmacy.

Ms Fairbrother would purchase the products from the mobility business and benefited from any sales. But when that business folded, Ms Fairbrother recognised that customers and their carers could benefit from a mobility borrowing service.

Taking an opportunity

She found that that one of the most important mobility items she had on display was a wheel chair, and that many people asked if they could borrow it for short periods of time. Requests came from people who wanted ‘to take a trip out, or take somebody shopping who needed confidence to have a wheel chair’, she says.

Ms Fairbrother decided that a wheel chair loaning service was an opportunity to help the community. She bought a light weight, fold up wheel chair for £300 to hire out for around £10 per day, that was portable and easy to put in a car boot. ‘I thought so many people could benefit from it’, she says.

Starting a conversation

The wheel chair is on display for hire in the pharmacy, and has prompted conversations with customers and carers about the need for a wheel chair service to help support them. Ms Fairbrother says her wheel chair hiring service is valuable to her community because it helps to identify and support people and their carers faced with mobility issues.

Some customers use this service for a few days or a few weeks. But if she had not set up this initiative, Ms Fairbrother feels she may not have been able to support customers who are carers or housebound because she would have only found out about an individual’s mobility issues had they not visited her for a conversation about this wheelchair service.

Ms Fairbrother’s believes her wheel chair service, which started six years ago, has not only paid for itself, but, along with her dog loaning service, has helped to create a positive atmosphere in her local community, where she is trying to create a good life for everyone.

Read about why the Goodlife Pharmacy loans its pet dogs out to patients by following the link below.

Clinical champions: How my pet dog helped my pharmacy’s patients

Click here to find out how you and your pharmacy team can apply to become Clinical Champions.

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