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PillTime points to ‘technical challenges’ after patients slam delivery delays

Online pharmacy PillTime has apologised following a social media backlash over delays to its medication deliveries, referencing difficulties it encountered when moving to new premises, deploying robots and installing a new PMR system at the same time. 

It follows customer complaints, with several patients taking to social media to express concern over claims the online pharmacy missed deliveries, failed to deliver medication in time and cancelled prescriptions.

PillTime superintendent pharmacist Sadik Al-Hassan told C+D today (May 27) that “we just didn't anticipate the level of technological issues” the company's move to a new premises would bring.

 

 

“PillTime grew very fast during the pandemic. But we were creaking at the seams with our site, with our technology,” he added.

The online pharmacy therefore took the decision to change its premises “to make it more suitable” and at the same time implemented a range of new systems, he explained.

However, this “presented more challenges than we'd hoped”, Mr Al-Hassan said.

Patients were kept informed of the delays and were also offered the option of collecting their prescriptions locally, he confirmed.

“We definitely understand the frustration of some of our customers, from experiences they've had,” he added. “But going forward, all this pain has made us better able to help our patients in the future.”

 

PillTime: “Responding to all customers”

 

PillTime also told C+D today that it is “sorry for the disruption and inconvenience caused by recent delays”.

“This is not what our customers have come to expect from PillTime and putting this right is our priority,” it added.

 

Read more: GPhC: Regulation should not stop innovation, but online pharmacies must meet standards

 

While the company’s move to a new premises “has been a significant milestone and will ultimately improve our service and capabilities, there have been some technical challenges during the transition and the installation of our new systems”, PillTime commented.

This has resulted in delays for some customers, the company added. “We have in turn been experiencing large volumes of enquiries to our customer services team.”

Customers affected were notified that their deliveries would be delayed, and offered “the information needed to redeem their prescription with an alternative pharmacy”, PillTime confirmed to C+D.

“The move to the new premises is now complete. We are applying extra resources to ensure customer deliveries are received ahead of their medication start dates and we are working through to respond to all the customer services enquiries.

“The best way for people to contact us is via [email protected] or via telephone on 0800 074 3303,” PillTime advised.

 

Investment in customer service

 

Patients who took to social media also raised complaints around difficulties getting in touch with PillTime, with long phone waiting times and comments limited on the pharmacy’s Facebook page.

“We restricted Facebook comments just so we could direct people towards email and phone channels,” Mr Al-Hassan told C+D.

“With it, we've now invested quite a bit in our customer responses, with our partnered workforce. We have a b2b partner to help us with customer care. They've invested in more workforce to support us as well,” he added.

 

 

 

GPhC: “We continue to monitor the situation”

 

A spokesperson for the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) confirmed to C+D yesterday (May 26) that it was “aware of concerns raised by PillTime’s customers”.

“We have been in regular contact with the pharmacy in recent weeks to monitor the progress of improvements they have been making to [its] systems,” the regulator added.

 

Read more: GPhC mulls differentiated fees to cover regulatory cost of online pharmacies

 

The GPhC will “continue to monitor the situation”, it confirmed, adding that it last undertook an inspection of PillTime on March 6, 2020, at its former premises.

“It met all the required standards at the time,” the regulator said.

 

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