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Medequip's Royal Derby Hospital Retail Store Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Medequip Royal Derby Hospital Retail Store

Medequip's first-ever retail store within a hospital setting has recently celebrated its 2nd anniversary of opening.

Medequip offers self-funding options to empower independent living through choice, outside what can be prescribed through the Integrated Community Equipment Service for Derby City. This was one of the original reasons for creating the Royal Derby Hospital Store.

With the Covid pandemic and restrictions of visitors in place at Royal Derby Hospital, Medequip had to adapt its retail offering.

Unfortunately, in its first year, the store had to close to comply with restrictions due to COVID-19. Sales were then directed through Medequip's online retail store, Manage At Home (www.manageathome.co.uk) ensuring people could still find the equipment and information they were looking for.

Medequip's Retail & Promotions Manager, Alex Roberts explained, “Medequip retail stores have certainly had a challenging time throughout the Covid pandemic. Non-essential retail store closures, resource issues due to government guidance on self-isolation and reduced footfall have all impacted our retail operations. However, we've seen a positive shift towards using online services to purchase much-needed mobility and medical aids, which Manage At Home has facilitated throughout the pandemic.

'We continue to support our customers by offering home delivery services and by taking payments remotely to reduce the need to go to a physical retail store.”

The store has a dedicated team of Trusted Assessors, accredited to offer informed advice on a range of equipment. The friendly team consists of the duo, Andrea Bickerton and Tom Ivens, who can suggest appropriate equipment suitable for specific needs. Recommendations may take into account the user's height and weight requirements, for example.

We asked Andrea and Tom to provide their thoughts on the past two years since the opening of the store and the trials of working through a pandemic:

How did it feel in those first few weeks when you re-opened after the store was forced to close?

It felt great to be back at the shop and serving our customers and having that interaction with them. We spent far too long waiting to get back, so it was a relief when we got clearance!

Describe to us what a typical week would be like in the store?

It can vary, no week is the same! With the volume of customers and sales changing daily, we always have something to do. Outside of retail, we take calls from customers, who are either inquiring about products or wanting to return what they received through the equipment loan service.

Do you feel there can be a positive impact on the local community for being based in the hospital?

Yes. We feel that we are in the right place based at the hospital, and feel that it's also beneficial not just for customers but for the staff too. We'd recommend more of these shops in hospitals!

What are the highs and the lows of working at the store during the pandemic?

Highs are being here for customers who wanted to purchase equipment during the pandemic. Lows were being closed, as we could not provide the service we are here to do.

What were your most popular products last year?

Our popular items are Wheelchairs, Therapy Putty, Male and Female urinals, gel balls, suction mugs, etc... the list goes on! We have a lot of customers coming from nearby clinics as well as hospital visitors who stop at the store.

Describe an instance where you've had to advise products to a customer?

Tom had a customer the other day who wanted to purchase a raised toilet seat. The customer was unsure of the height required as they come in different sizes. Tom used his Trusted Assessor knowledge, using a commode as a guideline with the customer and measuring the seating height. He could tell by the customer's feet on the ground how high the raised toilet seat needed to be, and the customer was happy with the purchase of a 4'' raised toilet seat, ideal for his specifications.

You can find the Medequip Mobility Aids & Equipment Store within the Kings Treatment Centre at Royal Derby Hospital.

Illustration of Medequip Royal Derby Hospital Retail Store location in hospital