Twenty three of the 100 respondents to the poll – which ran on the C+D website from August 9-15 – said their pharmacy already charges “some or all” of their patients, and 45% of respondents said they are “considering” it.
Thirty two respondents said they would “never consider” charging for deliveries.
The latest findings mark a stark increase on the 3% of pharmacist respondents to a similar C+D poll last year who said they were already charging for deliveries.
Last month, Rowlands announced it will scrap its free delivery service for all but “the most vulnerable” housebound patients, explaining that it could “no longer provide an expensive, convenient service which the NHS is not willing to pay for”.
The following week, C+D exclusively revealed that only patients who meet “inclusion criteria” will now benefit from Well Pharmacy’s free medicines delivery service.
Well was the third major multiple to announce changes to its delivery service, in an effort to “take the lead” on the sector’s attitude towards deliveries, after Lloydspharmacy revealed in November 2017 that it would start charging new customers for its service.
Readers split on future of the service
Ari Butt, a Lloydspharmacy branch manager in Birmingham, commented on the C+D website last week: “It’s about time all pharmacies charged for deliveries. If the government is not prepared to provide funding in the contract for this service then we have no choice but to charge.”
Meanwhile a community pharmacist posting under the name of ‘TasB H’ said their pharmacy already charges care homes for a medication management service, and it has scrapped its monitored dosage system service.
“I think the market is slowly moving in that direction as well,” they added.
Paul Dishman, owner of Exwick Pharmacy in Exeter, wrote that deliveries should only be made to “elderly and/or vulnerable people who cannot collect their own prescriptions”.
“Tell everyone that delivery is a discretionary service and that any abuse will mean that it's withdrawn,” he added. “People who value a service won't mess you around.”
Free deliveries: the Twitter debate
I think we are seeing responsible adaption to demands on pharmacies in light of challenging changes across the pharmacy sector. Pharmacies will always have great patient care at the heart of everything it does and need to prioritise resources where they are most needed— Chris Bonsell (@ChrisBpharmacy) August 1, 2018
Some will change following Rowlands and Lloyds to match, others may capitalise. Delivery should be free to those that are housebound, but not funded by the pharmacy. Needs to be paid for by gov. Those eligible for GP home visits should be eligible for free delivery. Simple.— Amish Patel (@amishpatel1985) August 1, 2018
I am sure there will be many independent pharmacies willing to take on the prescription deliveries not being done by LLoyds, Rowlands & Well pharmacy groups https://t.co/sRArxE6kaT— Mark Griffiths (@mark88356058) August 2, 2018
We offer a FREE prescription delivery service to ANY patient who requests it. Many pharmacies are now restricting deliveries to certain patients or charging patients for deliveries!! #freedeliveries #localpharmacy— STEPHENS PHARMACY (@STEPHENSPHARM) August 2, 2018