A London community pharmacy team has saved the life of a suspected Covid-19 patient who had been unable to get a hold of emergency services in time.

A pre-registration pharmacist from Harbs Pharmacy in Ealing - who asked not to be named - rushed to the house of the suspected Covid-19 patient after she had struggled to get through to the ambulance service.

The woman, who said she had been self-isolating after experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, called the pharmacy during a severe asthma attack to ask for assistance.

Owner of Harbs Pharmacy, Ali Harb, answered the call and decided to act immediately.

He said: ‘I knew she needed an inhaler there and then, and it didn’t sound like the ambulance was going to get there for a while -- she’d been on hold for 10 minutes.

‘I assured her that we’d get her an inhaler right away.’

A pre-reg pharmacist from the pharmacy went straight to the patient's house, dropped the inhaler outside her front door and stayed with her for the duration of her attack -- maintaining a few metres distance -- as she used the inhaler.

They remained with the patient until the ambulance arrived, while she stayed on the phone to a Mr Harb, who offered reassurance.

The woman expressed her gratitude online, crediting the team for ‘saving [her] life,’ and adding that she would be ‘forever in debt’ to the staff and owners of Harbs Pharmacy.

Pharmacy is saving lives

This was one examples of many great things that community pharmacy is capable of, said Mr Harb.

‘It really just demonstrates how pharmacy can make a difference, whether that be saving a life, relieving symptoms or just giving someone that support when they can’t access other help, especially during times like these when many of the health services are overstretched.’

At present, many pharmacy staff are reporting feeling ‘undervalued’ and ‘abandoned’ by the government after many pharmacies reported not being unable to source necessary PPE after Public Health England stopped providing kits.

This feeling of abandonment on the frontline has only been exacerbated since the government's announcement that pharmacies will receive a £300 million cash injection, which they will have to pay back after the pandemic.

‘I think the government could be doing more to help us... This event shows just how helpful and important we really are,’ Mr Harb told The Pharmacist.

‘It was nice to see Boris Johnson thanking pharmacists, but it’s just a bit sad that it’s taken something like this [pandemic] to get some recognition,’ he added.

What’s happening in your area? Contact Isabel at [email protected] with any information that would be useful for us to share with community pharmacy colleagues