THERE had been fears that cancer nurses would have to cancel some home visits in Somerset - until Spar stepped in.

The Marie Curie charity was facing a logistical nightmare to ensure all of its nurses has adequate PPE equipment.

But thanks to Spar South West, the nurses can now pick up the safety items from their local convenience store.

The 250 Marie Curie nurses in the region are using around 60,000 pieces of PPE a week as they visit patients with and without coronavirus.

But the charity was struggling to get the face masks, aprons, gloves, visors, goggles and hand sanitiser to its frontline staff across the region.

The organisation had been receiving a weekly delivery of PPE to its base in Tiverton, meaning considerable time and funds were needed to distribute it to nurses across Somerset and the rest of the South West.

Marie Curie regional nursing manager Karen Burfitt said her staff are unable to care for dying patients and to support loved ones without the correct protective gear.

Which is where Spar offered to help out by delivering the PPE to its stores closest to each nurses' home for them to collect at a convenient time.

In an email thanking SPAR and their South West distribution arm, Appleby Westward, Karen Burfitt, Marie Curie South West Regional Nursing Manager said:

“You have literally saved us hours of planning, coordinating and travelling. You have prevented nurses getting anxious as their shift loomed and they waited for the kit to arrive. You have prevented nurses having to stay up, rather than getting some much-needed rest before a shift, for the husband of their senior nurse to drop off the PPE.

Ms Burfitt said: "Spar has helped prevent us having to cancel the care of a dying person, prevented us having to make a phone call to an exhausted wife to say sorry no one is coming tonight because we couldn’t get the right PPE to the right nurse.

"Spar has saved me and my team from additional stress and worry we really could do without."

She added: "I cannot thank SPAR enough.

"I cannot stress enough that this has been a massive part of our jobs and lives for many weeks. They have enabled us to catch our breaths - albeit briefly."

Spar wholesaler Appleby Westward's logistics director Del Phillips said: “As part of every community we serve, Appleby Westward and our SPAR retailers are proud to support Marie Curie, providing a logistics solution to ensure vital PPE reaches their nurses working in those communities during these difficult times."