New patients must either pay a one-off fee of £5 or a 12-month subscription of £55 for delivery of prescriptions ordered in-branch, the multiple told C+D yesterday (July 10).
The charge will be extended to existing patients “later this year”, it added.
Boots will continue to provide a free delivery service from its pharmacies for “the most vulnerable patients”, including those who are receiving end-of-life care or where an emergency delivery is needed, it explained (see more on the exemption criteria below).
The multiple introduced an online prescription service via the Boots app and website in May, and deliveries for these orders will remain free.
Patients may still opt to collect their medicines from a Boots pharmacy without charge, the multiple pointed out.
Commenting on the decision to start charging for deliveries, Boots pharmacy director Richard Bradley said: “Community pharmacy is unquestionably facing challenges and we need to adapt our offer to respond.
“As a result, we have invested heavily in digital technologies to offer a free, easy-to-use service for delivery of repeat prescriptions ordered online.”
Exceptions have been made “to cover our most vulnerable patients in circumstances where their care necessitates delivery”, Mr Bradley added.
- If they require urgent end-of-life care
- Where the responsible pharmacist determines that an emergency delivery is required, because of an immediate clinical need; for example, at the urgent request of a GP
- Where the pharmacy has not met agreed levels of customer service
- Where specific NHS reimbursement criteria states that pharmacies are contractually obliged to offer delivery at no charge.
Boots is the last of the largest four multiples to alter its medicines delivery service, after C+D exclusively revealed in 2017 that Lloydspharmacy had started charging new customers for deliveries to their homes. It was followed by Rowlands, which scrapped free deliveries for all but “the most vulnerable” patients, and then Well, which limited its free deliveries to those who meet certain inclusion criteria.
Last month, Boots revealed it is planning to close around 200 branches over the next 18 months, as part of a “store optimisation programme”.