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Lloydspharmacy pauses rollout of new PMR system in ‘lead up to Christmas’

Lloydspharmacy has paused the rollout of its new patient medication record (PMR) system – LS Retail – into any new branches until January, it has told C+D. 

The multiple had already planned to pause the rollout  “in the lead up to Christmas and New Year, due to the usual increase of activity in pharmacies over this period, which includes the usual seasonal flu vaccination programme”, a Lloydspharmacy spokesperson told C+D yesterday (October 26).

Lloydspharmacy recently confirmed its intentions “with our colleagues, so that our pharmacy teams can focus on delivering [a] great service and support to our patients”, the spokesperson added.

The rollout of the new PMR dispensing system is a “large undertaking”, the spokesperson said. “So, we’ll be reviewing our implementation plan regularly, to ensure as seamless a transition as possible.”

The new system has experienced teething troubles, with C+D readers claiming that it had been rolled out without adequate training for staff and had been plagued with technical issues and bugs.

 

“Server-related” issues

 

The multiple had previously identified a “server-related issue” that was slowing the dispensary system in around 500 of its branches, but LS Retail is “now performing as expected”, according to the spokesperson.

“A solution was swiftly deployed to return the system to normal dispensing speeds. We apologise to our patients and customers for any delays they may have experienced and thank them for their understanding and patience while a resolution was identified and rolled out,” they added.

But in an email, seen by C+D, which appeared to have been sent by Kevin Birch, chief retail officer at the multiple's parent company McKesson UK, he wrote that the company was “aware of the challenges you and your colleagues are experiencing with performance issues and outages”. 

“As a result of the feedback I am receiving from colleagues in store, I am pausing the rollout of LS into any new stores until January, by which time we will have fixed the issues we have been seeing,” Mr Birch added.

 

“Listening to all feedback”

 

Last year, C+D revealed that Lloydspharmacy had begun rolling out the new PMR system across all its branches in Wales.

Introduced to replace the existing 20-year-old dispensing system, Compass, Lloydspharmacy hoped to implement LS Retail into all its British pharmacies in 2021.

A spokesperson for the multiple told C+D last month that the system was live in 33% of Lloydspharmacy branches in England and Wales.

The multiple is “listening to all feedback” it has received regarding its new LS retail PMR system, the spokesperson told C+D at the time. 

One anonymous source claimed to C+D that locums were also refusing to work in some branches where LS Retail had been implemented until all staff had received extensive training and the bugs were fixed.

Lloydspharmacy told C+D in response to the claims that: “Comprehensive training on how to use the new dispensing system is offered to all retail colleagues with an absolute minimum of six weeks’ notice.

“This includes self-directed training via e-learning modules, a test and play system that gives colleagues the opportunity to practice using LS Retail before it goes live, and daily virtual demos that are scheduled three times a day, five days a week including Saturdays, to offer as much flexibility as possible for colleagues to attend the sessions.”

 

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