Pharmacists celebrated as pandemic heroes

Groote Schuur Hospital pharmacists Wendy Smith,left, and Melissa Singh.

Groote Schuur Hospital celebrated pharmacists Melissa Singh and Wendy Smith last week as part of a campaign to recognise the heroic efforts of staff confronting Covid-19.

The Appreciation Wednesday Heroes campaign recognises those inspiring others during the fight against the pandemic, says hospital spokesman Alaric Jacobs.

Ms Singh, 34, from Milnerton, and Ms Smith, 49, from Kirstenhof, are among 70 employees who work in the hospital’s pharmacy department.

It’s up to the pharmacists to make sure patients get the right medication.

“This includes dispensing of medication to inpatients as well as outpatients,” Mr Jacobs said, “and they also interact with other professionals regarding queries for patients and guide interns.”

Ms Smith, who has been at Groote Schuur for 26 years, said the pandemic had forced many pharmacists to be more flexible and leave their comfort zones. “The department has been forced to become virtual in terms of getting scripts to patients in the Coivd-19 wards,” she said, noting that they had been using WhatsApp for that.

Ms Singh, who is still new to the pharmacy team with eight months experience, said they had had to provide that service to the Covid-19 wards while still having to serve the hospital’s other patients who don’t have Covid-19.

“The big lesson learned is that the pharmacy needs an e-dispensing programme,” she said.

Ms Smith said: “There has been lots of fear for Covid-19, but management has teams come into our area to talk to us about the virus and made sure we had all the personal protective equipment we needed.”