Hawick and Galashiels pharmacies handing out free protective kit to carers and other front-line workers

A family-run pharmacy business in the Borders has been prescribing protection for key workers during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Borders Pharmacy counter assistant Alex Hay with the PPE kit the business is giving away, comprising gloves, face mask and visor and hand sanitiser.
Borders Pharmacy counter assistant Alex Hay with the PPE kit the business is giving away, comprising gloves, face mask and visor and hand sanitiser.

Staff at Borders Pharmacy’s two branches, in Kenilworth Avenue in Hawick and within the post office in Marmion Road in Galashiels, have been handing out sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) free of charge to nursing and care home employees, shop workers and bus drivers to help keep them safe from the pandemic.

Over the past couple of weeks, its staff in Hawick alone have handed out more than 100 PPE packs to front-line workers presenting proof of their key-worker status.

The packs include hand sanitiser, gloves, a mask and a visor.

Graeme Mitchell, operations manager for the business, owned by Glasgow-based Umar Razzaq, said the handout is a way of thanking those workers putting their health at risk to protect or serve the public.

He said: “The shortage of PPE was well publicised, with a lack of equipment for nursing home staff and other front-line workers such as carers, so we decided to hand some stuff out to them free of charge.

“We have a lot of people coming in who work in care homes or even those who work in shops and on public transport.

“The equipment is very hard to come by, so we have very limited stock, but we have already handed out well over 100 packs.

“It was really a thank-you on our part to those staff.

“We are in a fortunate position, because we are a small family business, that we have access to wholesalers and we were actually able to get hold of PPE, so we decided to give some of it out to people who really need it.

“Umar has spent a lot of time making sure that there was enough PPE for staff before then providing it for front-line workers.

“The pharmacy has remained open since lockdown. Our staff have been great.

“We shut for lunch for a time, as did most pharmacies, but we have been able to provide a full service all the way through.

“Staff displaying coronavirus symptoms have taken time off as a precaution, but we have always been able to maintain the service.

“It’s a credit to our tremendous staff.”