The Cork pharmacist going the extra mile for her patients

Behind the perspex screen and friendly service, pharmacist Rose Murphy and her team are busy collecting postcodes and telephone numbers to deliver prescriptions to their cocooning clients.
The Cork pharmacist going the extra mile for her patients

Rose Murphy, (left) co-owner, Murphy’s Pharmacy, North Main Street, Cork, and Clodagh O’Sullivan, pharmacy technician at the pharmacy. Picture Denis Minihane.
Rose Murphy, (left) co-owner, Murphy’s Pharmacy, North Main Street, Cork, and Clodagh O’Sullivan, pharmacy technician at the pharmacy. Picture Denis Minihane.

Behind the perspex screen and friendly service, pharmacist Rose Murphy and her team are busy collecting postcodes and telephone numbers to deliver prescriptions to their cocooning clients.

“We’re delivering to the over-70s,” says Rose. “We had a home delivery service anyway, but it’s now become manic.

“We have a significant volume of patients who are over 70, so we’re phoning them to make sure that they have access to their medication.

“We deliver Monday to Saturday. Work takes longer with all the deliveries, we have up to 100 prescriptions to deliver. But really, we’re just doing what we do anyway.”

“In the pharmacy profession, we’re meeting the same people every month,” she says. “We get to know people very well, which is nice. There’s a local community feel here, even though we’re in the centre of the city.

“We’d never want it to be a big place where we didn’t know patients.

“There’s a strong sense of community. That’s always been important to me, but this crisis has shown just how important community really is.”

Rose says the coronavirus crisis is “completely unprecedented”.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” she says.

No one from our generation has. It’s World War One material.

Despite facing potential exposure to the virus daily through work, Rose says that she and her team take all the precautions they can to stay safe.

Her husband erected a perspex screen at the pharmacy entrance so everyone is served from the door, keeping both staff and customers safer.

“We had planned to put up some screening long before the shutdown,” says Rose. “We foresaw the situation developing in this way.

“My husband put up the screening at the pharmacy door. It’s a really good design, because we don’t have to wear masks behind the screen, which I think is nicer for customers and it’s easier for us — we’re not fidgeting with the mask and touching our faces.

“We wear gloves if we’re handling money, and wash our hands well.

“We’ll leave it up until we’re totally sure that the pandemic has passed. It’s contributing to the health of both staff and customers.”

Staff have been divided into two groups, and the hours have changed from five days a week to three days of 12-hour shifts so that those in work can be stationed far apart physically.

“The hours are longer and you are tired, but it’s working,” says Rose.

She adds that, despite the dangers of working through the pandemic, she is not personally concerned about catching Covid-19.

“You’re constantly at risk of catching the virus, but when you’re in the medical profession, getting sick doesn’t really enter your mind,” she says.

“You know how to protect yourself. We’re boosting our Vitamin D levels, we’re big hand-washers, and I put my clothes in the washing machine as soon as I get home and jump into the shower.

“For 30-odd years of work I’ve never worried about contracting an illness. My immunity is probably boosted by having contact with diseases all the time.”

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