August 2018: Helping to Keep us all Safe

Helping to Keep us all Safe

As a pharmacist of many years, one of the main sources of job satisfaction has been to help the people I serve. Wherever I’ve worked, the ethos has always been to do what we can for those who come to the counter. This may have been First Aid for minor injuries, advice on self-care or medicine taking or just a friendly chat and some calming words if somebody was anxious or distressed.

Earlier this year I learned that the Derbyshire Safe Place Scheme was being re-launched and widened. It’s now available to all adults and not just those with learning disabilities over 16, and more than 180 shops and businesses across Derbyshire have already signed up.

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) runs the Safe Places scheme in partnership with MacIntyre, Derbyshire Police, Trading Standards and the Derbyshire Learning Disability Partnership Board. It’s a very effective way of providing vulnerable individuals with support when needed. It’s straightforward and uncomplicated and involves putting the Safe Places sticker in public buildings such as libraries, GP Surgeries, Pharmacies and shops in towns and communities across Derbyshire.

The sticker shows ‘Keep Safe’ card holders that help can be at hand. This means that anybody who is vulnerable and feels anxious, threatened, lost or unwell when out and about can find help wherever they see the “Safe Place” sticker.

Keep Safe cards hold information an individual wants people to know about them and an emergency contact name and telephone number should they be in crisis. If they show their Keep Safe card at a Safe Place this will prompt staff to find them somewhere safe to wait, use the information on the card to call family, friends or support staff or to call the police or ambulance if it is an emergency.

More than 900 people in the county carry a Keep Safe card and carrying it not only provides comfort to an individual, but also to carers/parents.

DCC is working closely with the Alzheimer’s Society and Making Space to help people living with Dementia by ‘spreading the word’ at various events and meetings across the county to encourage people to apply for a Keep Safe Card. Pharmacies can help by raising awareness of the scheme and actively promoting it as part of the Dementia-friendly pharmacy initiative. There are currently over 7,000 people diagnosed with dementia in Derbyshire and this figure is set to rise by 30% by 2030.

More Safe Places are needed to ensure accessibility and comprehensive coverage throughout the county. This will help people to be safe and encourage independence, helping to reduce isolation.

I would like to see a sticker in every community pharmacy window. The application process is straightforward and the LPC is working with DCC to streamline the process as much as possible. In the meantime pharmacies that would like to become a safe place can visit and here you will find an online application form.

If you would like to learn more about Safe Places or see where all the Safe Places are in the county please visit DCC is in discussion with Derby City Council about including the city in the county scheme, which will further improve access.

Community pharmacies, as the name suggests, serve their local community and pharmacies have always been ‘safe havens.’ Please join me in promoting this through the Safe Place scheme.