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Managing food and medication

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I’m worried I may get prevented from shopping or picking up medication for those I care for. What can I do?

The government’s guidance does not specify that you are required to carry a form of proof if travelling to provide essential care for somebody vulnerable.

However, you may find it helpful to carry a form of ID to prove your role, such as a Carer’s Allowance letter, GP/local authority documentation about your caring role, an NHS shielding letter or the blue badge of the person you care for. You could take a mobile photo of any email that indicates your role, such as one from a GP or relating to a relevant disability benefit award.

It may also be helpful to contact your local carers’ organisation to see if they run a carer card programme. You could browse our local directory as a starting point.

Innovate iconTop adviser tip:
 "You may be able to order repeat prescriptions over the phone with your GP or via their website/app if they have an online facility. You can also order medication directly from the pharmacy if they offer this service."

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Will I be able to continue to get our essential supplies of medication and food during an extended period at home?

Yes. Rest assured that pharmacies and food stores will remain open during this period. They will also be limiting the number of purchases of the same items, and some stores will be giving priority (with special opening hours and online delivery slots) to key workers, as well as older and more vulnerable people. 

GP surgeries remain open, many offering telephone consultations as standard, and appointments by video app or in person if absolutely necessary. Find out more here on the NHS website.

Check as well whether your local convenience stores offer a delivery service. You could phone in advance to find out what they have in stock and whether they can deliver.

There are also local voluntary groups that may be able to help in practical ways, for example with home deliveries. See and as well as trusted groups on social media. Make sure that these are legitimate though. It is surprising how many people will rally round if they know someone is experiencing difficulties so do ask trusted friends, neighbours and family members for recommendations or direct help.

“I have been picking extra bits of shopping for shielding neighbours and cut their small front lawns to cheer them up. I’ve been making an extra effort to be friendly and chatty from a distance as I know the difference a small conversation can make to someone who’s lonely.”

The NHS Responder Scheme has also been set up to help anyone who is vulnerable or lonely. Call 0808 196 3646 to make a referral or seek support for yourself. 

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Can I pick up medication for myself or on behalf of someone else from a pharmacy?

Pharmacies will be open but it is vital that you do not visit one if you or anyone in your household has a temperature or a new and continuous cough, even if mild. If you are well and can visit the pharmacy yourself, think about how you can help family, friends and neighbours who are self-isolating by collecting their medicines on their behalf (you may need to take ID with you and will need to know the name and address of the person you are collecting for).

Here are some other tips:

  • If you are self-isolating please ask family, friends or neighbours to arrange to pick up your medication for you. If you don’t have anyone who can collect your medicine, speak to your community pharmacy for advice about how they can help.
  • Ask your prescriber about the possibility of ordering repeat prescriptions online through electronic repeat dispensing.
  • Don't ring the pharmacy unless it's an emergency and ensure you don't order above and beyond what you need.
  • Put your contact details on prescriptions so pharmacies can let you know when your medicines are ready.
  • Please try to order your next prescription seven days before it is due, if possible, as pharmacies will be working very hard to meet demand.
  • Contact your pharmacy if you are at higher risk but can't find anyone to collect your prescription. They will be able to arrange a way for a certified volunteer to help.

 Innovate icon

 Top adviser tip: "Check when more medication may be needed and note down when you will need to reorder." 

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