BRADFORD'S oldest pharmacy has told of its "challenging" financial battle as it continues to serve the district's most vulnerable patients in the midst of a pandemic.

Rimmington's Pharmacy has switched to free prescription deliveries and is offering free masks to at risk patients, but this has not left the service unscathed by the economic impact of COVID-19.


The pharmacy, found on Bridge Street, is now calling for more government support with the belief that pharmacies have been neglected in national policies, from coronavirus care to extra costs.

The team failed to have a proper lunch break everyday last week

"The pressure is like a hot chimney," pharmacist Sajad Hussain said.

The team has made the decision to sell items such as masks and hand sanitiser at their normal prices, instead of matching the inflation.

And when it comes to deliveries, the fuel expenses are rising with the number of self-isolating residents too worried to pick up their prescription in person.

Mr Hussain told the Telegraph & Argus: "It's very stressful.

"We are buying higher, we are spending higher. The costs are higher. Not the medication, the price of sanitisers, the price of masks.

"It's a real gamble. Everything's a gamble. Being a pharmacy is a gamble.

"We've got to think about the patient and not worry about the finance.

"You should be thinking 'care, care, care' and if that costs you it costs you.

"If you stretch your love and passion you will come out good in the end."

Rimmington's is also appealing to the government to supply all pharmacies with the appropriate PPE equipment so they can better protect staff as they take on more home deliveries.

Dosette lead Nazia Habib has taken on some delivery jobs in a situation she describes as "unprecedented".

Mum to a high risk child with two health conditions, she is worried about the risk she faces doing her prescription rounds.

Meanwhile, for her patients with a weekly dose, Ms Habib must work out who can be trusted with a bigger batch of medication in case she cannot get deliveries to them as often.

The pharmacy is hoping that a new and urgent coronavirus law designed to protect against substance misuse will be put in place for this exact dilemma.

She explained: "It's demanding, it's challenging.

"Everytime I walk out it does come to your mind, I might end up with it (coronavirus).

"The pharmacy staff, they're all at risk.

"I've got to be there for patients as well as my child. The patient care is first and foremost for us.

"Their wellbeing is very important to me."

When asked if she feels prepared for a peak in the virus, Ms Habib replied: "You're never prepared for anything. I would just take it as the time comes and deal with it.

"I think I've had certain experiences in my personal life where you've never expected it and you've ended up dealing with it.

"We've just got to keep a strong mindset."