The Duchess of Cornwall meets the Chotai family, owners of Kamsons Pharmacy. Photo: Kamsons Pharmacy

The Duchess of Cornwall on Tuesday (March 30) hailed pharmacists as ‘unsung heroes’ of the coronavirus pandemic as she toured Kamsons Pharmacy in Uckfield, East Sussex.

Camilla, 73, met with pharmacists and support staff, including delivery drivers and warehouse staff, who kept the family-owned group’s pharmacies running during the pandemic when many other healthcare services closed.

She thanked pharmacy staff for their essential work during lockdowns as she also heard about the unprecedented demand for prescription delivery at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and how every pharmacy branch of Kamsons had remained open despite all the pressures they faced, including wrath of angry, panic-stricken customers.

Director of Kamsons Pharmacy Bharat Chotai said: “We were delighted to welcome the Duchess of Cornwall and she took a genuine interest in our staff who have continued to serve their local populations throughout the last year in extremely difficult circumstances.

“We are also very proud of the loyalty of our staff and are delighted that their contribution has been recognised by Her Royal Highness.”

The Duchess of Cornwall was then given a tour of Kamsons’ new state-of-the-art warehouse which uses robots – known as weasels – to move medicines around the huge facility.

Kamsons is the first pharmaceutical warehouse in the country to implement this technology which has allowed the chain to deliver millions of medicine stock to the pharmacies each month.

The Duchess described the system at Kamsons as “very impressive technology” when warehouse manager Graeme Nott explained to Her Royal Highness that the warehouse has been covered in 925 solar panels which are used to power some of the vehicles that deliver medicines directly to patients and to its pharmacies as part of the group’s ambition of becoming carbon neutral.

The Chotai family opened the first high-street branch of Kamsons Pharmacy in Uckfield about 40 years ago. The group now runs 77 pharmacies across the country and employs almost 1,000 staff.

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