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Lloydspharmacy to stop delivering Scottish prison contract

Lloydspharmacy will not be retendering for its contract to provide pharmacy services to the Scottish prison service, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has revealed.

The multiple won a £17 million contract to provide pharmacy services and supplies in all of Scotland’s 15 prisons – spanning nine health boards – in 2019.

It was awarded the contract for a three-year period with the option of a 12-month extension, after being the only company to submit a tender.

As well as dispensing and clinical services, the contract included a particular focus on treating hepatitis C with antiviral drugs.

The PDA said yesterday (February 7) that pharmacists employed by Lloydspharmacy “have been advised that the company has not retendered for the contract to provide pharmacy services to the Scottish prison service”.

Director of national procurement at NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) Gordon Beattie told C+D that "the current contract for the provision of pharmaceutical goods and services to prisons in NHS Scotland expires on 31 March 2023".

“Discussions are ongoing with Lloyds UK Ltd to manage the transfer of services and maintain the ongoing supply of medicines to patients in prison across Scotland," he said.

It comes after the multiple experienced issues with the delivery of the service last year, according to a letter written by NSS - an offshoot of the Scottish NHS.

But Lloydspharmacy told C+D that the "temporary disruption" has since been "resolved".


Risk of redundancy


The PDA is supporting pharmacists who will be impacted by the decision and may be at risk of redundancy, the union said in a statement.

“PDA members delivering the pharmacy contract to the Scottish prison service have been notified by their employer Lloydspharmacy that they may transfer to another employer or even be at risk of redundancy,” it added.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy confirms closure of Dorset Sainsbury’s branch next month

“As a result of Lloydspharmacy exiting the contract, those pharmacists may transfer to whichever employer takes over the service, or if their function does not transfer to a new employer they will be at risk of redundancy,” it said.
C+D understands that the Scottish prison contract impacts fewer than 10 PDA members.
“The PDA Union will be representing these individuals to ensure they understand and can exercise their rights at work to either continue their current role under a new employer, transfer to a suitable alternative role, or leave with the appropriate redundancy compensation,” the statement said.


Deteriorating service


In September, a letter from NSS Procurement to health boards and prison governors highlighted an “ongoing issue” with Lloydspharmacy’s delivery of the service that could “pose a risk to NHS boards and the Scottish Prison Service”.

It said that an upgrade to Lloydspharmacy's IT/patient medication record (PMR) system had led to “significant delays in supply of medicines, particularly repeat medicines, to people in prison”.

Read more: Headache for Lloydspharmacy as new PMR system update ‘disruptive’

“Despite ongoing engagement with Lloyds, previous assurances for a return to business as usual have not materialised, and, in fact, the service has deteriorated further,” the letter claimed, adding the situation was “not sustainable”.
“Our concern is that any further deterioration of the service could lead to the situation where a large number of people in prison do not receive their medicines on the due date, causing a break in treatment,” it added.
“Such an event could have consequences for individual patients' wellbeing and is likely to cause unrest in the prison population,” the letter said.
In its letter the NSS added that it would be meeting with Lloydspharmacy “on a daily basis” to monitor the situation.
A Lloydspharmacy spokesperson told C+D: "For a short period last year, LloydsPharmacy experienced a temporary disruption to the service it provides for the Scottish prison service. This has since been resolved and normal service is now in operation.”
It remains unclear whether this issue is related to the decision not to retender the contract.
C+D has also approached the Scottish Prisons Service for comment.
The NHS took over the responsibility for prison health services in 2011, including pharmacy.
But an inquiry into healthcare in prisons by the Scottish government in 2017, which heard from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland, found that the health needs of prisoners were underserved with pharmacy an underutilised resource, which led to the new contract being put out to tender.

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