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Demand for pharmacy delivery services grows, survey finds

Some pharmacies are spending over 10 hours a week managing home deliveries, as demand for these services increases, a survey has found.

The report – published by delivery firm CitySprint Healthcare today (August 23) – found that demand for pharmacies to deliver medicines to patients' homes has risen in the past year, increasing the “pressure” on pharmacies to offer “retail-style convenience”, the delivery firm said.

Of the 350 pharmacists surveyed – working across independents, “chain” pharmacies and in “clinical” pharmacy settings – 79% said their pharmacy business offers home deliveries.

Of these pharmacists, 84% reported an increase in demand for home deliveries in the past year.

Of all respondents to the survey, 62% said the most common reason patients request medicines delivered is because poor health prevents them from getting to the pharmacy, while 34% said it was the “convenience of not having to come to the pharmacy”.

Staff time spent on service

According to the survey – conducted by research company Censuswide – 21% of pharmacy businesses offering a delivery service spend an average of 11 hours a week of pharmacist and staff time managing deliveries, while 12% said this amounted to between nine and 10 hours.

Thirty-six per cent of pharmacists said they are "responsible for the work of delivery drivers", according to the survey's findings.

Seventy-four per cent of independent pharmacists offering a delivery service said they advertise for, and employ, their own delivery drivers, while 38% have used existing members of staff to deliver medicines.

Just 6% of pharmacists across independents, multiples, and “clinical” settings said their business relies on taxis or minicabs to make deliveries.

Cost concerns

When the remaining 21% of survey respondents were asked why they do not provide home deliveries, 40% said it was because “the business does not have enough man power”, 23% said it would be “too expensive”, while 15% said they are “concerned about funding cuts and want to keep costs down”.

Commenting on the findings, CitySprint Healthcare chief development officer Darren Taylor said: “Pharmacies are under unprecedented funding and regulatory pressures – and the growing demand for home delivery can be an increasing drain on resources if not managed effectively.”

A C+D poll in October 2016 exclusively revealed that nearly two-fifths of pharmacists may reconsider their free delivery services as a result of the funding cuts across England.

Does your pharmacy provide a home delivery service?

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