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Demand for pharmacy delivery services grows, survey finds

84% of pharmacists offering a delivery service reported an increase in demand
84% of pharmacists offering a delivery service reported an increase in demand

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?

Richard MacLeavy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I had a patient just yesterday ask me to deliver. When I said yes she then said oh but not to house can you deliver to the shop I work in. I said ok wheres the shop. Turns out it 5 shops away from the pharmacy.

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

I think you guys mean demand for FREE delivery service. I wonder if demand would continue to grow if a fee as attached??

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I think you would see similar results as to when plastic bag charges were introduced.

A Hussain, Senior Management

Pharmacy opened nearby and went on an onslaught of free deliveries and blister packs for all.  We had to go with this to a certain extent to protect the business.  We have made a concerted effort to find out who actually needs delivery or MDS and have managed to refine the services a little, but it is very frustrating.

Pharmacies will always undercut each other, it's the nature of the beast.

mark straughton, Pharmaceutical Adviser

So true! We've created a bunch of lazy patients now. I've come across patients who now want them delivered between a particular time, or after a specific time because they're 'out'. When you politely mention that if you're out would it be easier for you to come and collect it , or even hint that the delivery service is high in demand and there could be elderly/ immobile patient who could miss out they generally just threaten to use another pharmacy and we have to bow down to their demands otherwise we loose their custom.

The best story I've come across is when a driver went to deliver to an address, knocked several times on the door but got no reply. He looked thru the side window and he could see the TV on and thought he saw someone on the couch..............he thought how strange, but then put a missed delivery slip thru the letter box. The pharmacy got a call later on from the same patient to go say could they go back and deliver the meds. When the driver went back there he mentioned that he was there earlier on and thought he could see someone was in the patient said 'oh yeah, we knew it was probably you with my meds , we were in but we were watching Neighbours and it was up to a really good bit so we didnt answer the door'.

Incidently, that driver left the job. Nothing to do with the job (he was retired and didn't need the money) he was just shocked how lazy and inconsiderate people have become yet us pharmacies we're fighting for their business! 

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Only way to keep up with Pharmacy2U stealing patients with unethical letters and mailouts.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Does make me wonder if Amazonisation is going to be way pharmacy becomes?

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Yes, because we have created a monster of bone-idle patients!   Community pharmacy creating all it's own problems since Jesse 



Sarah Smythe, Information Technology

Too true Angela. Delivery should also be accompanied by a mandatory fee  , as every one wants this service for nowt.


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