Medications sent by helicopter to nursing home during the flood

Lizzy and Donald at the helipad loading the helicopter used to carry supplies across the flooded river.
Lizzy and Donald at the helipad loading the helicopter used to carry supplies across the flooded river.

Blooms The Chemist pharmacists packed up essential medication for residents at the Ron Middleton Nursing Home last week, taking them across the river via helicopter during the floods.

Working together with other community organisations, the team commenced early morning on Wednesday, March 24, preparing for the midday flight.

Pharmacist Lizzy Gripper, who herself was stranded and had not been able to cross the river to get home, worked throughout the early hours of the morning to pack essential medications for the mercy flight.

"This is a really difficult time for the local community. Everything was happening very quickly so there wasn't too much time to reflect in the moment about what was going on. We were all really focused on the task at hand and getting the medication out to those in need as quickly as possible," Ms Gripper said.

"It's an incredibly rewarding feeling to be a part of something as important as this and do our part to help the local community. The entire Blooms The Chemist team is grateful that we can take care of our community in a deep crisis and moment of need, and help some of the most vulnerable people at such a difficult time."

She said there were some logistical hurdles due to being short staffed with some workers stuck on the wrong side of the bridge.

"It was all hands-on deck packing the medication. There was also lots of back and forth with helicopters. Yesterday we had a member of the community lend his private helicopter and his time to help us get the medication across the river, and today we're working with him again and also the SES to do more trips," she said.

If they had waited until flooding subsided, it would take days until they were able to drive, which was too long for the patients to wait.

Up to 80 residents were dependent on the essential flight including one gentlemen whose Parkinson's medication needed to be packed and shipped within one hour to maintain medication integrity.

Pharmacist Lizzy Gripper packing medications which were sent by helicopter to the North Richmond side of the Hawkesbury River during the flood.

Pharmacist Lizzy Gripper packing medications which were sent by helicopter to the North Richmond side of the Hawkesbury River during the flood.