Our joint statement with GPhC on volunteers delivering medicines

[We’ve updated our earlier joint statement to make it clearer. Thank you to those of you who pointed out how it could be read.]

Joint statement from the RPS and GPhC on the use of NHS volunteers to deliver medicines in England. 

Pharmacy teams, as an essential part of the frontline response to COVID-19, are currently working under enormous pressure.

There is an unprecedented demand on pharmacy services, including the need to get medicines to extremely vulnerable people, including the “shielded” group who must stay at home. We therefore welcome the recently launched Pandemic Delivery Service and the COVID-19 NHS Volunteer Responders initiative as a means of supporting pharmacy teams with tasks such as delivering medicines.

To help pharmacy teams and volunteers provide safe care to patients and the public, the RPS has produced volunteering guidance, which outlines what pharmacy professionals should consider when working with volunteers. The guidance includes a table of the key tasks and roles for volunteers.

The RPS and GPhC would like to reassure pharmacy teams and pharmacy owners that we support the use of NHS volunteers as an option to get medicines to extremely vulnerable people when it’s not possible to use patient’s own representatives or pharmacy delivery services. Pharmacy professionals acting in accordance with the standards and using NHS Volunteer Responders in good faith in line with the service specifications of the Pandemic Delivery Service will not be regarded as responsible by us for actions of other people outside of their control.

We would like to express our thanks to all pharmacy teams for their hard work and making sure that people continue to receive their medicines, and to the volunteers for offering to help pharmacy teams during the pandemic.


General Pharmaceutical Council                             Royal Pharmaceutical Society