The Manchester firms facing a surge in demand amid the coronavirus outbreak


A prescription app firm and a cleaning service provider are among the Manchester businesses that are seeing a surge in demand as the Covid-19 outbreak continues.

Now Patient, which allows NHS patients to order repeat prescriptions to be delivered to their homes, has said the coronavirus outbreak has led to a 500 per cent increase in online medication ordering.

The firm, part of Now Healthcare Group, said the demand was largely being driven by the over-60s, who have turned to the app as an alternative to visiting their local pharmacy.

The prescription firm was established by chief executive Lee Dentith, and was set up with the aim to help people living with chronic care conditions manage needs through technology.

The group, based in Salford Quays, also said there has been a “huge increase” in the use of its digital GP platform Now GP, which allows patients to have a mobile consultation.

Mr Dentith said: “This is a very concerning time for so many people, especially those living with underlying health conditions and now is the time that people can start to understand the huge benefit of technology and put their trust first-hand in using app-based services like Now Patient.

“Many of our patients must go into a period of social-distancing so heading out to their local pharmacy to collect the numerous medications is not an option – particularly when the pharmacies can be a breeding ground for germs.”

He added: “We are proud to play a small role in helping to keep people safe and contain the spread of the virus in the best way possible way”.

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Cleanology

Meanwhile, Manchester-based commercial cleaning company Cleanology said more than half of its clients have requested “extra services” since the first coronavirus cases were first reported in the UK.

Chief executive Dominic Ponniah said his staff are “working around the clock” to cope with demands from more than 300 corporate clients.

The firm, based on Brown Street in the city centre, said it has carried out ‘preventative’ and ‘reactive’ cleans for businesses including law firms and restaurants in central Manchester.

Commercial cleaning company Cleanology

While demand is high, the firm said it is paying “up to double” the cost for cleaning products, using extra virucidal products, adding cleaners and hours worked to jobs and carrying out hundreds of ‘preventative’ cleans.

Mr Ponniah said it has been a “pretty intense” period for the business, which has has 650 cleaners.

He said: “We’ve been instructed to carry out hundreds of preventative cleans for regular clients and as one-off jobs.

“There are a number of things they are requesting which we must respond to, including additional cleaning hours and more cleaning staff attending jobs.

“Clients are asking for areas that might only be cleaned say once a week to instead be targeted once a day.”

He continued: “We’re also being asked to carry out more regular cleaning of touch points such as door handles, keypads, meeting room tables and reception areas.

“This is a time when it’s vital for companies to be doing, and be seen to be doing, everything they can to prevent the virus from potentially surviving or spreading in their workplaces and reassuring staff.”

Lancashire Farm Dairies

A Rochdale-based dairy natural yogurt firm has also seen a surge in demand for its products as a result of panic buying.

Lancashire Farm Dairies was founded in 1984 and employs 220 staff and last November it won the Barclays Judges Choice Award at the Manchester Evening News’ Business of the Year Awards.

Lancashire Farm Dairies

The company said it is looking to recruit more staff to meet the sharp demand for their products.

Chief operating officer Sarfaraz Akram said: “Our primary concern is ensuring the wellbeing and safety of all our staff.

“We have seen a huge spike in orders due to ‘panic buying’ and are doing our best to keep up with demand.

“We will be taking on additional people to help boost supply.”

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