Natalie Pettitt works in Medicines Management at MW Phillips, a community
pharmacy company. It runs 46 pharmacies across the West Midlands and South
Wales, with lots of elderly and vulnerable patients. When doctors’ surgeries closed
they faced a higher level of demand. They were having to make more deliveries of
medicines to shielding patients, and had to adapt their open dispensaries to protect
against the virus. Their pharmacies often had queues of 10-20 people outside;
many people were dependent on them for their medication. Staff have to come into
contact with people and give them medication.
A number of their staff were symptomatic, and had been self-isolating. They didn’t
know if they had COVID-19 or not, but had to stay at home anyway in order to
protect the pharmacies and their patients. Before working with the Covid Testing
Network, lots of centres for testing were a distance from the pharmacies, and they
were difficult to get to for frontline health workers. There were often delays in getting
tests and results back.
When MW Phillips started working with the Covid Testing Network, this became
much easier. Now Natalie goes around to MW Phillips’ pharmacies, and brings
swabs to Eurofins’ laboratory. They are testing 20 workers per week, and can deliver
next-day results. Previously MW Phillips had only been able to get tests for
symptomatic staff, but now even staff who have not been showing symptoms can get
The testing has been hugely beneficial and staff who were exhibiting symptoms such
as coughing or high temperatures have been able to get reassurance that they do
not have symptoms. This has allowed the company to manage its staff and make
sure that it is able to keep providing a vital service. They have also been able to
identify four cases of the virus.
One of these was exhibiting symptoms, but thought that he just had hayfever. When
he was tested, it turned out that he was positive for COVID-19. Another positive test
was a pharmacy student who was asymptomatic and could have been unknowingly spreading the virus while working at MW Phillips. The testing that Eurofins and the Covid Testing Network could provide helped four people confirm that they had the virus, and then quarantine themselves. Keeping these people away from other staff and patients has been a valuable contribution to stopping the virus’ spread and even saving lives.
Natalie said: “Getting testing from the Covid Testing Network and Eurofins has
been brilliant, absolutely flawless.”
“The testing has been incredibly valuable to us. It has reassured staff that they do
not have the virus and so can carry on serving their communities and giving people
vital medication. It has also made sure that people are positive can be safely
quarantined, which helps save lives in the community."