// Waitrose to protect hard-to-find & essential stock exclusively for NHS workers at all times of the day
// NHS staff will receive priority checkout treatment in all Waitrose supermarkets
// John Lewis is donating comfort items and Easter gift food to local hospitals, to support workers
The John Lewis Partnership has announced that from tomorrow, its network of Waitrose shops will set aside a proportion of hard-to-find items exclusively for NHS staff.
The upmarket grocer said that from Monday March 23, a batch of essential products from every delivery that arrives into its stores will be set side and protected exclusively for NHS staff, on production of an NHS card.
Waitrose staff have been told that wherever possible, they are to reserve core grocery items to help get crucial basics to NHS staff working around the clock during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Meanwhile, NHS staff at Waitrose stores are now being given priority checkout service – through either dedicated NHS checkouts, staff opening up new tills for them as needed, or moving to them to the front of the queue.
Stablemate John Lewis is also responding to requests from NHS workers for anything that would make their breaks more comfortable.
The department store will be donating items such as pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand cream, as well as 50,000 Easter treats, to hospitals on the frontline of the pandemic.
“Through these steps we want to recognise the tireless work of NHS staff, supporting us all through these unprecedented circumstances,” John Lewis Partnership customer service executive director Bérangère Michel said.
“We hope these measures make their life a little easier; our partners are keen to do something to help, and we are offering this with sincere thanks from us all.”
These new measures follow steps outlined by the John Lewis Partnership last week to support customers, including the launch of a £1 million community support fund to help local communities and a protected shopping hour for the elderly and vulnerable.
Many Waitrose shops have already been using their community funds to assemble care packages of essential items for vulnerable or elderly people in the local community.
The John Lewis Partnership also launched a support fund to aid its staff who are facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic, such as childcare costs.
Staff are also being offered free meals at work.
Meanwhile just yesterday the partnership said it was working with Age UK, FareShare and the Trussell Trust by donating £75,000 initially to each charity, for immediate activity in response to the coronavirus outbreak.