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Almost a quarter of C+D readers are already charging for deliveries

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A third of respondents said they would "never consider charging" for deliveries
A third of respondents said they would "never consider charging" for deliveries

Almost one in four pharmacies already charge patients to deliver medicines to their homes, a C+D poll has suggested.

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.

Result

Has your pharmacy started charging patients for medicines deliveries?
Yes, we already charge some or all of our patients
23%
No, but we are considering it
45%
No, we would never consider this
32%
Total votes: 100

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
9 Comments
Question: 
Has your opinion on charging for deliveries changed over the past year?

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

I would like to hear comments from the smart ones who started this free deliveries lark in the first place

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

GP's do not even attend NHS related meetings in their own time unless paid !

Mr CAUSTIC, Community pharmacist

it would be interesting to know what people are charging ?

Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

I'd be interested to know how much of the business from the quarter has gone to the three quarters though. Unless EVERYONE charges, the pioneers will lose out.

Meera Sharma, Primary care pharmacist

To the pharmacies who "Would not consider charging for deliveries" - you are clearly not feeling the effects of the financial cutbacks, so good luck to you! Practically, everyone expects to pay for items that are delivered to their home, so why should pharmacy be any different? There is no provision made in the contract re-imbursements for any delivery charge, so it's coming out of the pharmacy's bottom line at a time when that bottom line is decreasing.

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

Well said, Meera. Totally agree.

Peter Sainsburys, Community pharmacist

I'd love to know how many services doctors provide WITHOUT reimbursement?

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I already have that information - Nil, nyet, nothing, not a sausage!

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Of course, the difference is that HMGovt pay for GP services while deliveries etc are paid for by the patient. That way, in the eyes of patients, GPs are wonderfully warm human beings who will do anything for you, while pharmacists are avaricious and unhelpful

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